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‘No Tech For Apartheid’: Google Workers Protest Company’s Services To Israel

A group of Google employees protested Tuesday in California and New York against the information technology corporation’s provision of cloud computing services to Israel, according to reports.

The protesters in Google’s Sunnyvale, California location entered the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian Tuesday morning and said they would leave only if Google would withdraw from Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion joint contract with Amazon to provide cloud services and data centers to the Israeli government, the Washington Post reported.

A similar protest took place in a common space within Google’s New York office, Zelda Montes, one of the protesters, told the outlet. A banner reading “Google Worker Sit-In”, “Against Project Nimbus”, and “No Tech for Genocide” hung above the common space, the outlet revealed.

A protester wore a T-shirt sporting the slogans “Googler against Genocide” and “No Tech for Apartheid” according to Gizmodo.

The provision of public cloud services to the Israeli government is the first of five “central layers” of the “multi-year, large-scale flagship project” that started in 2019, according to Israel’s Government Procurement Administration. Google and Amazon shrugged off Microsoft, Oracle and IBM, the other tenderers who also bid for the contract, in Apr. 2021, Reuters reported.

Protests from within Google and Amazon have erupted in various forms since then. More than 90 Google employees and more than 300 Amazon employees collectively signed an anonymous Oct. 2021 letter accusing the companies of “aggressively” pursuing military and law enforcement contracts that “are part of a disturbing pattern of militarization, lack of transparency and avoidance of oversight.” They called on both companies to “pull out of Project Nimbus and cut all ties with the Israeli military.”

Two months after Hamas’ Oct. 7, 2023 terror attack on Israel, workers staged a “die-in” at Google’s downtown San Francisco offices to protest against Israel’s reported use of what appeared to be a separate artificial intelligence program—termed “the Gospel”—in its military response to Hamas, according to the San Francisco (SF) Chronicle.

Google fired an employee who heckled the corporation’s top executive in Israel during a conference in New York in March, leading Montes to contemplate the possibility of being fired, too, according to the Washington Post report. “I have been waiting for months for people to be in the same position as me and be ready to put their job on the line,” Montes told the outlet in part.

Montes also reportedly alleged that Google lied to its employees about Project Nimbus.

Google spokesperson reportedly told the SF Chronicle that Project Nimbus was a public service program, not a military one.

AUTHOR

JOHN OYEWALE

Contributor.

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