Google employees protest

Google employees demanded that the company stop working with the Israel Defense Forces at protests on April 16, 2024.

(Photo: @MPower_Change/X)

Workers Stage Sit-Ins to Demand Google End Israeli Cloud Contract

"Just as people of conscience demanded institutions cut ties with apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, the time is now to rise up in support of Palestinian human rights," said Google employees in an open letter.

Following recent reports that Google may soon expand its tech collaboration with the Israeli government, dozens of the company's employees on Tuesday entered its offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, California and announced that they wouldn't leave until executives pull out of its $1.2 billion cloud services and data contract with the country.

The No Tech for Apartheid coalition—including the Muslim-led MPower Change and the Jewish-led Jewish Voice for Peace—organized the sit-in, which marks an escalation in Google workers' protests against Project Nimbus, the 2021 contract under which Google and Amazon provide cloud infrastructure across Israel's government.

The deal includes a stipulation that the companies cannot prevent Israel from using Project Nimbus for any government agency, including the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)—which means Google employees' work may be directly supporting the country's assault on the Gaza and its killing of at least 33,843 Palestinians since October.

"Workers will NOT allow business as usual while Google continues to profit from the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza," said MPower Change.

In Sunnyvale, workers began occupying the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, while employees in the company's New York office began a sit-in in a common space.

Outdoor rallies were also scheduled to take place in San Francisco and Seattle, with both Amazon and Google employees attending.

Former Google cloud software engineer Eddie Hatfield, who was fired last month for disrupting a Google Israel event, was among those who protested in New York.

The sit-ins came a week after Time magazine reported that Google has entered further negotiations with the Israeli government in recent weeks, even as international human rights experts raise alarm that Israeli officials have directly caused famine to take hold in parts of Gaza by blocking humanitarian aid.

No Tech for Apartheid released an open letter addressed to Kurian and other Google and Amazon executives, saying that as long as the companies' "tech continues to power the Israeli military and government, [they] are actively complicit in this genocide."

"Your workers do not want to be complicit in genocide," reads the letter, which has been signed by 93,000 supporters. "Just as people of conscience demanded institutions cut ties with apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, the time is now to rise up in support of Palestinian human rights, to end the Project Nimbus contract, and join calls to end the Israeli occupation and siege of Gaza. This has never been more urgent. We hope that you will take this opportunity to be on the right side of history. End the Project Nimbus contract and reestablish your companies' commitments to human rights."

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