Google employees fight over $1.2 billion contract with Israel

Google staff are caught up in an escalating office dispute over the search giant’s business ties to Israel, including a $1.2 billion deal to provide cloud services to the Israeli government called “Project Nimbus.”

On Wednesday, a group of Muslims, Palestinians, Arabs and “anti-Zionist Jews” Google staff published an open letter That required the tech giant to reject the Nimbus contract, even as it accused Israel of committing “genocide” under an “apartheid government and army.”

“We demand that Google stop providing material support to this genocide by canceling its Project Nimbus contract and immediately stop doing business with the Israeli apartheid government and army,” the group said, criticizing CEO Sundar Pichai and Google chief Cloud, Thomas Kurian.

Critics and activists working at Google have criticized Nimbus since the contract was signed in 2021, alleging that it gives Israel tools to covertly monitor Palestine.

Meanwhile, Google employees who support Israel have interpreted the resistance to Nimbus as hostile, adding that when their co-workers criticize Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide,” it is “deeply offensive,” according to staff accounts. reported by The New York Times.

Three insiders told the Times that a worker was fired after writing on an internal Google message board that Israelis living near Gaza “deserved to be affected.”

Google implemented “Project Nimbus” in 2021, a $1.2 billion contract through which the tech giant provides cloud services to the Israeli government, and it has been a point of contention among staff ever since.
Google workers against Nimbus expanded their campaign on Wednesday when they wrote a scathing open letter demanding that Google reject the project.

In a statement, Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini dismissed the resistance to Nimbus as “part of a long-running campaign by a group of organizations and people who largely do not work at Google.”

“We have been very clear that the Nimbus contract is for workloads running on our commercial platform by Israeli government ministries, such as finance, health, transportation and education,” Mencini added. “Our work is not directed at highly sensitive or classified military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s open letter complained that “Palestinians have been publicly called ‘animals’ on Google’s official workplace platforms” without any disciplinary action from leaders, and “Muslims have endured accusations of supporting terrorism as part of their religion.”

In other cases, employees who showed “empathy toward the besieged residents of Gaza” were labeled “sick” and “a lost cause” by managers, according to the letter.

Software engineer Sarmad Gilani, who joined Google in 2012He was one of the few employees to publicly confirm that they had signed the open letter.

Gilani told the outlet that, as a Google employee, “you have to be very, very, very careful, because any type of criticism of the State of Israel can easily be taken as anti-Semitism.”

He stated that although Google’s culture aims to celebrate all racial identities and sexual orientations, there is a double standard that allows “freedom of expression for Israeli Googlers versus Arab, Muslim and Palestinian Googlers.”

The open letter claimed that Google employees who showed “empathy toward the besieged residents of Gaza” were branded “sick” and “a lost cause” by managers, while others “have been publicly called ‘animals.’”

“I don’t feel confident saying what I want to say,” Gilani said.

In the wake of the Hamas ambush against Israel on October 7, Google issued a statement condemning Hamas and days later promised Jewish employees that its internal platforms would be monitored for anti-Semitism and that the company was prepared to fire violators if was necessary. , according to the Times.

The following week, Pichai said in an internal email obtained by The Post that Google’s Jewish staff were “experiencing an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.”

In that same message he acknowledged that Palestinian, Arab and Muslim employees were “deeply affected by a worrying rise in Islamophobia and are watching in horror as Palestinian civilians in Gaza have suffered significant losses and fear for their lives amid the escalation of war and humanitarian crisis. “

Sarmad Gilani, who has worked for Google for more than a decade, was one of the few employees who identified themselves to the New York Times as a supporter of the letter.

The staff behind Wednesday’s open letter were dissatisfied.

“We demand that Sundar Pichai, Thomas Kurian and other Google leaders issue public condemnation of the ongoing genocide in the strongest possible terms,” ​​they wrote.

Google spokeswoman Courtenay Mencini noted that the war between Israel and Hamas “is a very sensitive time and issue across all companies and workplaces, and we have many employees who are personally affected.”

“The overwhelming majority of those employees do not participate in internal discussions or debates, and many have said they appreciate our quick response and our focus on the safety of our employees,” Mencini added.

Google’s experience is not unique: Tech rival Apple removed employee Natasha Dach from its staff directory after her anti-Semitic social media post was uncovered by pro-Israel watchdog StopAntisemitism.

A screenshot of Dach’s social media posts indicates she wrote: “You infiltrate countries, you steal people’s lives, jobs, homes, streets, you push them, you intimidate them, you torture them.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said the company’s internal platforms would be monitored for anti-Semitism and that the company was prepared to fire offenders if necessary.
In the wake of the Hamas ambush against Israel on October 7, Google issued a statement condemning Hamas.

Dach wrote that “when people act on it, you call it terrorism,” in apparent reference to the Oct. 7 surprise attack by Hamas that left at least 1,400 Israeli soldiers and civilians dead.

Just days earlier, Apple reportedly shut down internal Slack channels used by Muslim and Jewish employees after workers posted verses from the Quran and organized protests in response to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

In the days and weeks following the surprise Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli cities on October 7, Microsoft shut down an internal discussion forum after an employee wrote about a “strong feeling of disillusionment with our work and the company” in light of “a single feeling of disappointment with our work and the company.” “unilateral statements” by the leadership in support of Israel.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button