Google fires 28 employees who protested against company's cooperation with Israel

April 19, 2024  14:12

Google has fired 28 employees who, given Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip, protested against Google, which has a contract with the Israeli government and provides cloud services, Associated Press reported.

Google confirmed the news late Wednesday. Earlier, nine of the company's employees were arrested during a protest at its New York and Sunnyvale, California offices, forcing the company to call the police.

The employee complaint concerns Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract signed in 2021. In doing so, Google and Amazon have committed to providing cloud computing and artificial intelligence services to the Israeli government.

The protests were mainly organized by a group called No Tech For Apartheid. Google insists that the Nimbus project is not being used for Israeli operations in Gaza.

Google issued a statement regarding the firing of the 28 employees, saying they "engaged in totally unacceptable behavior" and prevented some employees from doing their jobs and created an atmosphere of intimidation. The company added that it is still investigating the incident, hinting that other workers may also be fired.

The group No Tech For Apartheid said in a blog post that Google had lied about what happened at its offices, adding that the workers had simply staged a peaceful sit-in that was heavily supported by other workers who were not participating in the protest.

“This flagrant act of retaliation is a clear indication that Google values its $1.2 billion contract with the genocidal Israeli government and military more than its own workers,” No Tech For Apartheid said.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, without identifying any specific incidents, said in a blog post Thursday that employees will be under strict supervision as the company ramps up its efforts to improve its artificial intelligence technology at this critical moment for the industry and perhaps humanity.

“This is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics,” Pichai wrote. “This is too important a moment as a company for us to be distracted.”

This is not the first time that Google employees organize a protest action. Last time, employees revolted against the company's contract with the US Department of Defense, as a result of which Google decided in 2018 to terminate the operation of the contract for a project called Project Maven, within the framework of which the company was to help the armed forces analyze military videos.

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