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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


The monsters of spring

It is an alarming feeling to witness one’s university directly supporting crimes of mass destruction and degradation of entire communities largely for financial benefit. Such is the stark crisis faced by the UA so long as our campus administration retains its current business relationships with Motorola and Caterpillar, two U.S. companies proven by notable religious and human rights groups to be complicit in serious international law violations in the Palestine/Israel conflict.

In a letter dated Dec. 31, 2009, addressed to the student-led monitoring group, the University of Arizona Community for Human Rights, and to the faculty-based University Committee for Monitoring Labor and Human Rights Issues, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church relayed its leading research on each Motorola and Caterpillar with regard to the companies’ involvement in the illegal military occupation of Palestine: “”For years churches and human rights groups have met with Caterpillar and submitted resolutions urging it to stop providing bulldozers that demolish Palestinian homes.””

“”During this time,”” the church states, “”Caterpillar has deepened its involvement with the occupation.””

The church represents 550 congregations spread throughout several New England states and, beginning in 2005, put its entire weight behind the noble conviction of its bold Resolution 204 (ratified by an overwhelming majority of 900 delegates representing five New England states), entitled “”On Divesting from Companies that are Supporting in a Significant Way the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories.””

Describing its most recent data on the Motorola Corporation: “”We thought that Motorola had responded to our call to sever its ties with the occupation when it proceeded to sell two of its divisions this year. … Yet we learned that in both cases key portions of these divisions which support the occupation were separated out and remain under Motorola’s control.””

However, the church does not fail to provide viable modes of action for people to take in light of the above companies’ intransigence in its criminal activity — expressing their belief “”that when we oppose something we should take away the money that is making it possible. Since our government has been unwilling to do that, it may be up to churches, universities, labor unions, and other groups to withdraw their support for the occupation.””

The church closes its letter by wishing “”the entire University of Arizona community the best as you engage in this process of discernment together.””

Something tells me that we’re going to need their wishes. The proper question to ask is whether UA President Robert Shelton will “”sit and think about this a lot,”” as he told the Daily Wildcat he would during the too long (but ultimately successful) UA divestment campaign against the Russell Corporation last spring, or whether he will act immediately, just as many UA students did, inspired by the compelling call of shrieking injustice of the Russell affair. After all, Shelton has had nearly a year now to sit and wait and think since the UA’s egregious business practices with these two companies have been a public matter.

— Gabriel Matthew Schivone is an art, literature and media studies junior. He can be reached at

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