• Wed. May 29th, 2024

Google Fires And Arrests Employees Over Anti-Israel Protest

Apr 18, 2024
Google Fires And Arrests Employees Over Anti-Israel Protest

Google Fires Employees Involved in Anti-Israel Campaign

Google has taken decisive action against employees involved in a protest against the company’s contract with the Israeli government. The protest, which took place at Google’s offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, California, resulted in the firing of 28 employees and nine arrested after they staged a sit-in lasting nearly ten hours.

The No Tech for Apartheid activist movement organized the protest, opposing Google’s $1.2 billion cloud contract with the Israeli government. The movement alleged that Google’s technology is being used to support Israel in what it termed a “genocide” in Gaza.

The protesters demanded the cancellation of the Project Nimbus contract and an end to all businesses with the Israeli government. However, a spokesperson for the tech giant stated that the protesters were in clear violation of company policies as they physically impeded other employees’ work and prevented access to Google facilities.

As a result, the protesters were put on administrative leave, and their access to company systems was terminated. When they refused multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement instantly moved in to remove them.

The No Tech for Apartheid movement, a coalition led by Jewish Voice for Peace and MPower Change, added that the protest was part of a longstanding campaign against Google’s involvement with the Israeli government. Google, however, maintains that the protest was primarily led by individuals who are not company employees, even though a small number of employees were involved. More importantly, this issue raises questions about the extent of internal dissent within Google regarding its business dealings with the Israeli government.

Tech’s Role in Politics and Human Rights

The recent protest comes amidst growing scrutiny of tech companies’ involvement in political and social issues. Google and other tech giants have faced criticism for their contracts with government agencies and their potential role in facilitating human rights abuses.

Meanwhile, this incident further fuels debates over the ethical responsibilities of tech companies in an increasingly interconnected world. Meanwhile, the No Tech for Apartheid movement has vowed to continue its campaign against Google and other tech companies that engage in business with the Israeli government.

They argue that by leveraging their labor power, tech workers can pressure their employers to act by ethical principles rather than purely profit-driven motives. Another protester, Eddie Hatfield, got fired by Google in March for disrupting Barak Regev, Google Israel CEO, at a tech event in NYC.

His termination is evidence of Google’s unwillingness to tolerate any violation of its workplace policies from its employees. Reports revealed that Google had drafted a contract for consulting on automation technologies in March.

According to a Google spokesperson cited in TIME, the contract, endorsed by the Finance Ministry, focuses on utilizing Google’s commercial platform for various Israeli government ministries like finance, healthcare, transportation, and education. The spokesperson emphasized that the work does not involve highly sensitive or classified military operations related to weaponry or intelligence services.

Allegations of AI Use in Targeting Hamas and PIJ Members

Earlier this month, a report published in +972 Magazine claimed that the IDF heavily depended on an AI program named “Lavender” to identify potential targets within Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), including low-ranking operatives, for airstrikes. The report suggested that soldiers authorizing these strikes acted mainly as “rubber stamps.”

However, the IDF refuted these allegations, stating that while automated data systems were used to propose targets from a database, all airstrikes required human authorization. Additionally, the IDF denied assertions in the same report that up to 100 civilian deaths were deemed collateral damage to target specific senior commanders.