April 18, 2024

Google fires 28 employees over protest of $1.2 billion Israel contract

Google fired 28 employees on Wednesday for participating in a 10-hour sit-in Tuesday at the company's New York and Sunnyvale, California offices that protested the company's $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government. 

The employees wore headscarves and disrupted an entire floor of offices in each location, preventing other employees from working.

“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers,” Google vice president of global security Chris Rackow wrote in a companywide memo obtained by the New York Post. “Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened.”

Around 50 people were involved in the New York protests and 80 in California. There was also a related protest in Seattle.

No tolerance

“Behavior like this has no place in our workplace and we will not tolerate it,” Rackow wrote. “It clearly violates multiple policies that all employees must adhere to — including our code of conduct and policy on harassment, discrimination, retaliation, standards of conduct, and workplace concerns.”

Google “takes this extremely seriously, and we will continue to apply our longstanding policies to take action against disruptive behavior — up to and including termination,” he added.

The staffers were connected to a group called No Tech For Apartheid, which posted several livestreams and videos of the protests.

The footage included the staffers being given final warnings to stop the protests and being arrested by local police for trespassing.

Israel "genocidal"

The protesters have demanded that Google pull out of "Project Nimbus," a $1.2 billion contract in which Google and Amazon Web Services provide cloud-computing and artificial intelligence services for the Israeli government and military.

They are concerned that the technology Google provides will be used against Palestinians in Gaza.

The group indicated that the firings demonstrate "Google values its $1.2 billion contract with the genocidal Israeli government and military more than its own workers — the ones who create real value for executives and shareholders.”

“Sundar Pichai and Thomas Kurian are genocide profiteers,” the statement added. Pichai is the CEO of Google and Kurian is the CEO of its cloud unit.

The reason

Israel has been trying to destroy Hamas operatives in Gaza since Hamas attacked Israel with 1,000 fighters On October 7, 2023.

While many in Gaza have been killed, Hamas is essentially using Gazans as human shields and sacrificing them to get people outraged about the action against them.

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