Google and Amazon shareholders to oppose Israel's Project Nimbus in resolutions
Shareholders of Google and Amazon will likely vote next month on resolutions that could force the companies to reconsider a controversial deal with Israel, according to investigative news outlet The Intercept.
Amazon and Google signed a $1.22 billion agreement known as 'Project Nimbus' in May last year to provide cloud technology to the Israeli government and military. The agreement was signed while Israel was engaged in a deadly assault on Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip which killed more than 250 people.
Shareholders from both internet giants are expected to vote next month on resolutions that would mandate reconsideration of Project Nimbus, which they fear will have grave human rights consequences for Palestinians, The Intercept reported.
The Amazon resolution, filed by Investor Advocates for Social Justice, demanded an independent investigation into Nimbus and other surveillance contracts.
"Amazon’s government and government-affiliated customers and suppliers with a history of rights-violating behavior pose risks to the company," the resolution said.
"Inadequate due diligence presents material privacy and data security risks, as well as legal, regulatory, and reputational risks," it warned.
Ed Feigen, a Google shareholder and Jewish Voice for Peace member told The Intercept he and several fellow investors were against Nimbus from the beginning and he was concerned for employees who voiced their concerns about the project.
"We also felt the need to support Google employees who’d spoken out against contracts Google was pursuing with militaries and police agencies like CBP and ICE," Feigen said.
"We believe that profiting from violence is plainly immoral, and because we see pursuing such contracts as a liability for investors – especially given the history of Google employees protesting such contracts."
A software engineer for Google said Project Nimbus has become a "point of shame."
"We know that the IDF, one of its projects is mass constant surveillance of various areas of the Occupied Territories, and I don’t believe there are any restrictions on which cloud services the Israeli government wants to procure from [Google] Cloud," said the engineer, who spoke anonymously.
"Google offers big data analysis, machine learning, and AI tool suites through Cloud; I don’t think there’s any reason to assume they aren’t consuming all of these products to help them work on this."
Google and Amazon employees who are opposed to a military contract with the Israeli military are becoming increasingly scared of the consequences of speaking up out of fear of accusations of anti-Semitism, the engineer said.
In April, over 500 Google workers also signed a petition supporting a Jewish colleague who claimed she was being pushed out of her role for protesting against Project Nimbus, accusing the Internet giant of "unjustly retaliating" against her for her pro-Palestine activism.
Ariel Koren, a product marketing manager at Google for Education, said she was pushed out of her position for opposing the contract.
"RIGHT after I helped organize against unethical contracts (& 2 days after returning from #disability leave), Google gave me 17 days to commit to moving to Sao Paulo—or else lose my job. Over 500 workers have petitioned, but @Google has yet to rescind the act of retaliation," she tweeted in March.
Google said it investigated the incident and found no evidence of retaliation against Koren.