Tech workers demand Google and Amazon to stop their complicity in Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people

Since 2021, thousands of Amazon and Google tech workers have been organising against Project Nimbus, Google and Amazon’s shared USD$1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government and military. Since then, there has been no response from management or executive. Their organising efforts have accelerated since 7 October 2023, with the ongoing genocide on Gaza and occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli state.

More recently in March 2024, more than 600 Google workers addressed a letter towards Google’s marketing leadership with demands to drop its sponsorship of Mind the Tech, an annual conference which promotes the Israeli tech industry in New York. Their letter, as reported by WIRED, reads as such:

Please withdraw from Mind the Tech, issue an apology, and stand with Googlers and customers who are despairing over the overwhelming loss of life in Gaza; we need Google to do better.

At the conference, a brave Google Cloud software engineer disrupted and shouted at the chief of Google Israel that “Project Nimbus puts Palestinian community members in danger,” and that his work should not be used in service of surveillance and genocide. His disruption was joined by another organiser with the anti-Zionist Israeli groups, Jewish Voices for Peace and Shoresh. In reaction, Google quickly terminated the software engineer. No Tech for Apartheid has released a statement, stating that “instead of cleaning up its own house, and dropping its contract with a genocidal regime, Google is punching down on its own workers.”

The quick retaliation by Google of their employee standing up against an ongoing genocide isn’t the first. In November 2023, Google singled out and intimidated one of their Muslim employees. These actions are juxtaposed by Google’s inaction and deafening silence in December 2023 when a software engineer Mai Ubeid was killed on 31 October 2023, along with her entire family, in an air strike during Israel’s war on Gaza. Mai Ubeid was a graduate from a Google-funded coding bootcamp, Gaza Sky Geeks, and was part of the Google for Startups accelerator program in 2020.

There is ongoing documentation and evidence about how Israel systematically disrupts Gaza’s internet, and the selling and use of AI systems to Israel (here, here, here). Yet, in the words of Timnit Gebru, “how this is not the #1 issue discussed in ‘responsible AI’ circles” lays bare who the purported values of “responsible” or “ethical” apply to.

See: Over 600 Google Workers Urge the Company to Cut Ties With Israeli Tech Conference at WIRED.

Image from @NoTechApartheid on X.

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