The 8,000 members of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) – the tiniest drop in Jeff Bezos’ bucket, for Amazon employs 1.6 million people – held a protest in late July which had nothing to do with wages or working conditions at Amazon, but rather, had only to do with the tiny Jewish state that seems always to attract such malignant, and ignorant, attention. Israel was accused of apartheid and genocide, and the ALU wanted Amazon to cancel a contract with the government of Israel to supply cloud-based services. More on this protest by the ALU, aided and abetted by the well-known anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, can be found here:
To say that Israel covets this technology to oppress Palestinians is yet another example of blatant anti-Israel hatred and bias,” AJC said in a statement. “Israel has every right to modernize its society.
The Amazon Labor Union, which represents more than 8,000 employees at the tech behemoth, took part in a protest on Wednesday accusing Israel of apartheid and genocide in response to an Amazon contract with the Israeli government.
Videos and photos provided to The Algemeiner show executives from AWS and Salesforce being disrupted at least five times during their keynote address at the Amazon Web Services summit in New York. Dozens of protesters outside the event held signs with slogans including “Zionism is Genocide,” “Israeli Apartheid and Genocide Funded by the US,” and “Amazon Profit$ Off Israel’s Military Occupation.” The organizers claim that Wednesday’s anti-Israel protest was the first time that Amazon tech workers and warehouse workers have protested together.
Another speaker and organizer at Wednesday’s protest, the Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, who has a history of making statements widely considered by Jewish groups to be antisemitic and whose MPower Change organization runs the ongoing #NoTechForApartheid campaign against Amazon and Google, said that she was happy to see Israel’s democracy “crumble from within” amid the judicial reform protests.
Among Sarsour’s antisemitic remarks, the mildest is her claim that Israel “was built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else.” And according to Sarsour, the Jewish state is guilty of committing every conceivable crime against the Palestinian people, including “apartheid” and “genocide.”
“I want you all to know that while the Palestinian people are suffering oppression, brutality, and murder and genocide at the hands of the state of Israel, they’re still resilient,” Sarsour said.
The “oppression” the “Palestinians” are suffering comes not from Israel, but from the twin despotisms of Hamas in Gaza and the PA in Judea and Samaria. Both regimes have long records of crushing dissidents, arresting, imprisoning, and sometimes murdering those who oppose the corruption and mismanagement of their respective rulers. The latest victim was Nizar Banat, who on social media proved to be an effective critic of Mahmoud Abbas’ corruption. When he refused to remain silent, Abbas had his goons beat Banat to death. Hamas has been accused by Amnesty International of torturing and strangling to death numerous critics, beginning with Osama Atallah in 2009. The impoverishment endured by so many Palestinians, in both Gaza and the West bank, is a result of the colossal corruption at the top. Just two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa Abu Marzouk, each managed to amass fortunes of $2.5 billion. In addition, 600 “Hamas millionaires” from the terror group’s upper echelon live in resplendent villas, with gardens and pools. in Gaza. In the P.A., Mahmoud Abbas and his two grasping sons Tarek and Yasser have acquired a family fortune of $400 million. In both cases, much of the money was skimmed from aid supplied by foreign donors.
Far from “oppressing” the Palestinians, it is the Israelis who tried in the past to turn over a large and flourishing greenhouse business created by Jewish settlers in Gaza; the Palestinians, instead of taking over that turnkey operation, vandalized and destroyed all of the greenhouses. Israeli officials have agreed to collect import taxes on goods meant for the Palestinians and to transfer the sums collected to the PA. More recently, and as a response to the PA’s “Pay-For-Slay” program, Israel has withheld from such transfer exactly the amounts the PA spends on “Pay-For-Slay,” money which is provided to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists killed while committing their attacks. Israel is perfectly ready to turn over those sums that it has withheld just as soon as the PA puts an end to the program that rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorism. Israel also provides jobs to Palestinians — some 20,000 from Gaza and over 100,00 from the West Bank, at wages from three to t en times what comparable jobs in Gaza and the PA territories would pay. Israel is thus trying to help the Palestinians economically. Finally, Israel has in the past sent Mossad chief Yossi Cohen to persuade the Qatari rulers to send aid to Hamas in Gaza.
The Amazon Labor Union’s President Christian Smalls on Twitter Wednesday liked and retweeted a post describing the protest as opposing the “Israeli apartheid regime,” while the union’s main Twitter account approvingly quote Tweeted a post from Sarsour’s MPower Change.
The organizers of the protest, which included the Amazon Labor Union, the Alphabet Workers Union and Jewish Voice for Peace, allege that Amazon and Alphabet–the parent company of Google–are participating in Israeli “apartheid” against the Palestinians as a result of a $1.2 billion contract the companies have signed with the Israeli government for cloud computing services. The “Project Nimbus” contract aims to move Israeli government services into the cloud with support from the two tech giants….
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) told The Algemeiner in a statement that singling out Israel for using technology that governments around the world are pursuing is a clear indication of anti-Israel animus.
“To say that Israel covets this technology to oppress Palestinians is yet another example of blatant anti-Israel hatred and bias,” AJC said in a statement. “Israel has every right to modernize its society.”…
The technology that the protesters object to being sold to Israel — that is, the cloud computing services supplied to it by Amazon and Google – is also sold to, and used by, governments around the globe, including the United States. There is nothing sinister about this, unless the recipient is itself a criminal state, like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. If Israel is guilty, as charged by the Amazon Labor Union, of “apartheid” and “genocide,” then, of course, a protest is appropriate. But is the Jewish state guilty of either crime? The ALU has not supplied a shred of evidence for either claim.
Let’s take the charge of “apartheid” first. Are Israeli Jews and Arabs treated unequally according to Israeli law? No, they have exactly the same political, economic, and social rights. Arabs sit in the Knesset, serve on the Supreme Court, go abroad as ambassadors. The chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs are both treated by Jewish and Arab medical personnel and often in the same hospitals. Jews and Arabs work in the same offices and factories. Arabs and Jews play on the same sports teams and in the same orchestras. Jews and Arabs are partners in businesses, from restaurants to high tech start-ups. There is exactly one respect in which Jews and Arabs are treated differently. Jews must, while Arabs may, serve in the military.
The ALU’s anti-Israel stance was overwhelmingly rejected, 16 years ago, by the most important unions in the US, including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, the Teamsters, and 40 other unions, who signed a letter opposing the BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement.
In fact, let’s not forget that the Amazon Labor Union represents only 8,000 out of the 1.6 million Amazon employees; who knows how the other 99.998% feel about the Jewish state? None of them have announced their solidarity with the ALU.
Speaking at the rally Wednesday, one of the ALU’s co-founders, Jordan Flowers, said that Amazon “should have nothing to do with the Israeli government.”
“We are here today to fight back, and everyone should have their chance to say that Amazon needs to be held accountable, Google needs to be held accountable, and the Israeli government should be held accountable for all charges and crimes,” Flowers said.
And who else should be held accountable for “all charges” made about Israel? Why, those who make those charges, like Linda Sarsour, like the Staten Island ALU, like Jordan Flowers himself. We have already discussed above the absurdity of the claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state.
Now let us consider the second charge, that Israel is guilty of “genocide.”
Rafael Lemkin’s coining of the sadly necessary term “genocide” was used first to describe the the systematic annihilation of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis and their collaborators. At the end of the Second World War, there were six million fewer Jews in the world than at the beginning.
Has anything comparable been inflicted by the Israelis on the Palestinians? Are there Israeli gas chambers into which Palestinians have been herded? Does Israel have the mobile killing vans of the Einsatzgruppen, or the crematoria into which both the living and the dead were shoved by the Nazis, or those “shooting parties” in which tens of thousands of people were shot in the back of the neck at the edge of large pits into which they then toppled, only to be covered with dirt whether dead or still alive? Where are the cattle cars in Israel like those inside of which 8,000 people at a time were locked in by the Nazis, and at the end of the journey, and the cars unsealed, only one person was still alive? That’s what “genocide” means.
It is undeniable that Israel, in the three wars it has had to fight for its survival, in 1948, 1967, and 1973, and in the nearly dozen campaigns it has had to fight against the terror groups — the main ones being the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP — has made enormous efforts to minimize civilian casualties? Haven’t we all learned of the various means employed by the IDF to warn civilians away from buildings about to be targeted, through telephoning, emailing, leafletting, and the “knock-on-the-roof” technique? Don’t Israeli pilots abort missions if they detect the presence of children or of more than a handful of civilians? Isn’t this astonishing record what led British Colonel Richard Kemp, the veteran of a half-dozen campaigns, including Afghanistan, where he led the British forces, to describe the IDF as “the most moral army in the world”? How does this compare with the Palestinian terrorists who have murdered nearly 4,000 Jewish civilians — men, women, and children — in terror attacks since 1948?
In 1950, just after the first Arab-Israeli war, the Arab population of Gaza was 63,444; in 2023 the population is now estimated at 778,187. In Israel in 1950, there were 167,000 Arabs; in 2023 there are 2.1 million. In the West Bank in 1950 there were 700,000 Arabs; in 2023 there are 2.7 million. If Israel is committing “genocide” on the Palestinians, it is certainly going about it in a most peculiar way.
Asked by The Algemeiner about the comments by the ALU and Amazon tech workers that Amazon was participating in “apartheid” and that its executives were “war profiteers” because of the Project Nimbus contract, a spokesperson for Amazon told The Algemeiner that Amazon “respect [its] employees’ right to express themselves.”
Of course the Amazon employees have a “right to express themselves.” And we have the right, and even the duty, to hold up the charges of “apartheid” and “genocide” against Israel, made by the members of the Staten Island ALU, for examination, criticism and ridicule. Israel is not an “apartheid” state in any sense. Indeed, it guarantees more rights to its Arab citizens than the governments of 22 Arab states grant to their citizens. And the charge of “genocide” is simply absurd, given that in 1949 the Arab population of Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank was 1.4 million, and today is over 5 million.
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