Friday, August 13, 2010

the bulldozer - icon for Israel

Back when I was a 20 something, I remember pictures of Israeli bulldozers demolishing Palestinian homes.

In later years, there were images of Palestinian olive groves being leveled by bulldozers and of settlements being built in occupied territory with bulldozers. I was amazed - building new homes on Palestinian land that Palestinians would be forbidden to buy - and using Palestinian labor to build them! According to Wikipedia, in Hebrew, chutzpah is used indignantly to describe someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame.

But, being a typical American, I didn't bother to find out the facts and assumed that if Israel, country of the good, was doing something then it had to be right. Was I wrong! Watch this video to see the armored Cats in action with a good summary of the situation and even a few words from Jeff Halper - doing the right thing, as always.

As mentioned in the video, Rachel Corrie was crushed by an armored bulldozer. She wasn't the first and won't be the last person to get under those steel treads. Her death received attention, though, because she wasn't Palestinian. It reminds me of some dialog from one of Mark Twain's books. One person is relating to another the details of a steamboat boiler explosion and says, "nobody was hurt, but it killed a couple of niggers."

The armored bulldozer has become an icon for the country more appropriate than the Star of David. The latter represents Judaism, many follows of which want nothing to do with what Israel is doing in the occupied territories.

I've sent the following email to Caterpillar...
I'm considering investing in your company, but I am bothered by the images of your D9 bulldozer being used in the occupied territories by Israel. I cringe every time I see Palestinian farms being destroyed or demonstrators being opposed with the Caterpillar product.

Do you have any plans to get out of that market?

I'll let you know if I get a reply. UPDATE: I received a reply that did not address my question but simply referred me to the different divisions of Caterpillar.

Did you see the movie Gandhi? At one point there is a slaughter of Indians by the British. In the military investigation that follows, one of the judges, in disgust, asks the officer in command at the slaughter how the dead women and children could have voiced an appeal to a British Royal-Enfield rifle.

Israel is not slaughtering people. The government uses far greater finesse with ethnic cleansing, applying laws one way today and another tomorrow, one way for Israelis and another way for Palestinians, but I would ask how does one appeal to a D9 armored bulldozer? I would also ask, where is the Israeli equivalent of those British investigators?

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