The grass-roots Chicago Divests campaign was in a bit of a celebratory mood at La Salle and Lake Monday.
The group was passing out leaflets and holding signs outside the offices of the financial services company TIAA-CREF, partly to acknowledge the company's decision last month to drop Caterpillar from its "Social Choice" accounts.
On its website, TIAA-CREF says, "The [Social Choice] fund seeks a favorable long-term rate of return that tracks the investment performance of the U.S. stock market while giving special consideration to certain social criteria."
The national We Divest campaign has been urging TIAA-CREF to drop Caterpillar and other companies that profit from Israeli actions in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Caterpillar sells bulldozers that Israel uses
to raze buildings and orchards, Jennifer Bing of the American Friends Service Committee said Monday outside the TIAA-CREF offices.
The Social Choice fund held about $73 million worth of Caterpillar stock, she said.
Caterpillar says it does not sell directly to the Israeli military. Equipment sold to the U.S. government is resold to Israel.
Last week Caterpillar reported its second-quarter profit was up 67 percent, with a net income $1.7 billion.
Read the We Divest press release here.
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