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Following a sit-in protest against the Project Nimbus contract with Israel, Google fired 28 workers.

Googlers in Sunnyvale entered Thomas Kurian’s office.

Google has fired 28 employees after a lengthy sit-in protest at its Sunnyvale and New York headquarters.

The personnel were protesting against Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud computing agreement that Google and Amazon signed with Israel’s government and military three years ago. The contentious initiative, which purportedly gives Israel the full suite of Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, also includes strong contractual terms that prohibit Google and Amazon from succumbing to boycott pressure. This practically implies they must continue to provide services to Israel regardless of what happens.

Since 2021, Google employees have publicly protested the contract. However, as the Israel-Palestine conflict intensifies after the October Hamas attacks, this unrest is increasingly affecting the workforces of corporations perceived to be profiting from the conflict.

While recent protests featured demonstrations outside Google’s Sunnyvale and New York offices, as well as Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, demonstrators went a step further by entering the buildings, including Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s office.

In a statement to Eltrys via anti-big-tech advocacy firm Justice Speaks, Hasan Ibraheem, a Google software engineer participating in the New York City sit-in protest, stated that by providing cloud and AI infrastructure to the Israeli military, Google is “directly implicated in the genocide of the Palestinian people.”

“It’s my responsibility to do everything I can to end this contract, even while Google pretends nothing is wrong,” Ibraheem stated in a statement. “The notion of working for a firm that actively supports genocide makes me nauseous. We tried to send petitions to the leadership, but they ignored them. We will ensure that they can no longer ignore us. We’ll create as much noise as possible. Many employees are unaware that Google has a deal with the IOF [Israel Offensive Forces]. Many people remain oblivious to the harassment their Muslim, Palestinian, or Arab colleagues have endured for speaking out. Many individuals are unaware of how complicit their organization is. It’s our responsibility to ensure they do.”

They also detained and forcefully removed nine Google employees from their offices, four in New York and five in Sunnyvale. On behalf of the so-called “Nimbus Nine” demonstrators, Justice Speaks published a supplementary statement, asserting that Kurian refused their request for a meeting.

The statement reads in full:

Last night, Google decided to arrest us, the company’s own employees, rather than address our concerns about Project Nimbus, the company’s $1.2 billion cloud computing deal with Israel. While we waited in Thomas Kurian’s office, we repeatedly requested a meeting with the Google Cloud CEO, only to have our pleas rejected. We have regularly engaged with Google officials about Project Nimbus through various business channels, including town halls, forums, petitions signed by over a thousand workers, and direct contact from concerned employees, since the signing of the contract three years ago.
Google leaders have disregarded our concerns about our ethical responsibility for the effect of our technology, the contract’s harm to our workplace health and safety, and the company’s internal atmosphere of retribution, harassment, and bullying. Instead, Google suppresses internal speech and tolerates harassment, intimidation, bullying, silence, and censorship of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim Google employees.
Workers have the right to comprehend the applications of their work and to actively contribute to the safety of the technology they create. Because their labor may fuel genocide, workers have the right to go to work without fear, worry, or tension. Google is robbing us of these fundamental rights, which prompted us to sit-in at workplaces around the nation yesterday.
Meanwhile, Google continues to mislead its employees, the media, and the public. As of yesterday, Google continued to assert that Project Nimbus does not target highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads related to weapons or intelligence services. TIME Magazine’s reporting, however, demonstrates otherwise. Since the beginning of its genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, Google has created special tools for Israel’s Ministry of Defense and increased its contracts with Israel’s Occupational Forces, the military. By continuing to mislead, Google is demeaning and dismissing customers, the media, and, most importantly, us—its employees.
We shall not remain quiet in the face of Google’s outright falsehoods. Hundreds of thousands of Google employees have joined No Tech in support of Apartheid’s appeal for the corporation to cancel Project Nimbus. Despite Google’s efforts to quiet us and reject our concerns, we will not give up. We will continue to organize and struggle until Google abandons Project Nimbus and stops supporting Israel’s genocide and apartheid state in Palestine.

Eltrys received confirmation from a Google spokeswoman that the company dismissed 28 workers and would “continue to investigate and take action” as necessary.

“These protests were part of a longstanding campaign by a group of organizations and people who largely don’t work at Google,” stated a spokeswoman for the company. “A small group of staff demonstrators invaded and disturbed many of our facilities. Physically hindering other workers’ work and stopping them from using our facilities is a blatant violation of our standards, and it is entirely unacceptable conduct. To ensure office safety, we called police enforcement to remove them from the premises.

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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