Google fires 28 employees for protests over Cloud deal with Israel

Google fires 28 employees for protests over Cloud deal with Israel
Google has fired employees who were protesting against their cloud-computing contract with the Israeli government.
2 min read
18 April, 2024
Google fired 28 employees who took part in a protest at their offices in the US this week [Getty]

Tech giant Google said it fired 28 employees who were protesting their cloud-computing contract with the Israeli government this week.

In an email sent to the company staff, Vice President for Global Security Chris Rackow said the employees were dismissed after an investigation found they were involved in protests at their New York and Sunnyvale offices.

The company's internal memo described the protests as "unacceptable and disruptive," according to The Verge

"If you're one of the few who are tempted to think we’re going to overlook conduct that violates our policies, think again," Rackow said in the email.

The protest, which consisted of a sit-in, lasted 10 hours, according to No Tech for Apartheid, the organisation that planned the action.

The protesters said they intended to occupy the two offices until they were either arrested or Google cancelled their contract with Israel.

Some protesters carried banners denouncing the contract with Israel, as well as Israel’s ongoing assaults on Gaza.

The sit-in was planned following an article in Time magazine that revealed that Google had provided cloud services for the Israeli military, citing company documents.

The article mentioned a contract known as Nimbus, signed in 2021 by Google and Amazon, which provided cloud services to the Israeli government.

According to No Tech For Apartheid, the Israeli military uses Google Photos for facial recognition across Gaza, which they say has led to the arrest and torture of thousands of Palestinians.

"It is clear that the Israeli military will use any technology available to them for genocidal means," their website said.

The organisation also called for Google leadership to halt its continuous "hate, abuse and retaliation" against those who speak out, as well as end the harassment and racism against Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians in the working environment.

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A Google spokesman responded to the protests by saying the $1 billion Nimbus contract was not "directed at highly sensitive or classified military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services".

Israel has killed over 33,800 Palestinians in Gaza alone since 7 October. An additional 76,000 have been wounded in the same time frame.

Israel’s assault on the besieged enclave has collapsed the healthcare system and plunged the Strip into a deep humanitarian crisis, with several aid organisations warning of famine in north Gaza.