Princeton's Caterpillar Referendum Overlooks Important Realities

(Daily Princetonian) Jacob Katz - I am a junior at Princeton and a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). I cannot support Referendum No. 3, which calls on Princeton University to boycott Caterpillar equipment because it is used by Israel. Jewish people have lived in historic Palestine for millennia, and the Palestinian leadership has rejected the two-state solution on multiple occasions. Since 2000, at least 1,392 Israeli citizens - including women and children - have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists. I have personally watched hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza fly over my head towards Israeli cities. The referendum ignores the fact that Caterpillar machinery is often used to de-escalate violence. In the IDF, I frequently worked with Caterpillar D9 tractors to preemptively set structural boundaries for Hamas-orchestrated riots. Without Caterpillar tractors, Israeli soldiers would have to face the impossible task of stopping thousands of people from charging towards Israel's border at once. I was there. I watched Caterpillar tractors minimize disaster and prevent calamity. The equipment was used to protect the lives of protesters in Gaza and civilians in Israel. Boycotting Caterpillar would also harm the Palestinian Tractor & Equipment Company (a designated Caterpillar distributor) which describes itself as "a leading participant in Palestine's economic and industrial development." This referendum is precisely the kind of performative, empty activism that non-stakeholders use to solve a problem they scarcely understand.

2022-04-14 00:00:00

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