11417 4873 www. I azyoakbandb .com 2″S EST BOOKS .2r-Cl/lee out o frint 827 West 12th Street Austin, TX 2 blocks east of Lamar Monday-Saturday 10-6 512.499.8828 Weapons, continued from page 11 in Texas put a lot of pressure on this representative to get him to realize that what he is asking for is mass genocide. TO: Besides Texas weapons manufacturers, what other ties are there between Texas and Israel? RM: Texas has a pretty close relationship with Israel. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, which is a resource that the Israeli government provides, nearly 300 Texas companies do business in Israel. The main Texas companies that have benefited from investment in Israel include the Agar Corporation, CompUSA, Compaq Computer Corporation, Fortune Indus-tries, and Bell Helicopters. There is cooperative research conducted between Israel and the University of Texas, both the medical center and the University of Texas at Houston,Texas Tech, Rice, Texas A&M, Baylor Medical School, and numerous other Texas institutions. TO: One non-Texas company you focus on is Caterpillar. What is their role and why focus on them? RM: Caterpillar is based in Illinois and it supplies one of the most dangerous weapons to Israelcustom-made bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes. Caterpillar doesn’t benefit much financially from the sale of bulldozers to Israel. At the same time, Caterpillar is interested in having a good public relations image. I personally believe that a campaign against Caterpillar would be extremely successful in getting Caterpillar to change its position. TO: Tell us how the anti-apartheid South Africa divestment movement in the 1980s relates to your efforts aimed at Israel. RM: The campaign to dismantle apartheid in South Africa greatly benefited from the divestment movement in the United States. It helped to accelerate the process of bringing down apartheid. What we have in Israel is apartheid. Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has stated that there is “apartheid in the holy land.” Michael Ben-Yair, the former Israeli attorney general, has stated there is apartheid in the Occupied Territories. Within Israel, there is a different set of laws for Jews and non-Jews.Within the occupied Palestinian territories, there is a firm set of apartheid rules, a completely different set of laws for Jewish settlers and indigenous Palestinian populations, who basically have no rights and no legitimacy in the courts. When we look at the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, initially there wasn’t that much awareness in the United States about apartheid in South Africa. But people became aware of what was happening through the divestment movement. That is what we are hoping to do through a divestment movement, increase awareness of Israeli apartheid and the occupation. TO: How does the divestment movement work? RM: We have the right by law to know where [public institutions] are putting their money and their endowments, to know what kind of retirement bonds they have. We can go to The University of Texas to demand to find out where they are investing their money. There already are 40 universities across this country that are working on a national divestment movement from Israel. The main one is in Berkeley. It’s been.started by an organization called Students For Justice in Palestine, arguably the strongest pro-justice organization working on Palestine and Israel in this country. It was through their amazing organizational work for divestment with Israel that we have had so many other universities join their ranks. In the South, we have met with people at Georgia Tech. They are very interested in taking this forward. We had an extremely productive meeting in Fort Worth and Dallas, where they are starting to work on getting the city council in Dallas to pass resolutions calling for divestment from Israel, condemning the war crimes that occurred in Jenin, demanding a truly just policy for people on both sides. Austin writer Stefan Wray produces pro grams for community radio and cable access and runs a web site called Iconmedia, \(www. ico nmedi a . orgy. 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5/24/02
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