Google Terminates 28 Employees for Participating in Sit-In Against Contract with Israel’s Project Nimbus

Google has terminated the employment of 28 employees following a prolonged sit-in protest at the company’s Sunnyvale and New York offices. The protests were in response to Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract inked by Google and Amazon with the Israeli government and its military three years ago. So many workers don’t know that Google has this contract with the IOF [Israel Offensive Forces]. Those of us sitting in Thomas Kurian’s office repeatedly requested to speak with the Google Cloud CEO, but our requests were denied. Hundreds and thousands of Google workers have joined No Tech for Apartheid’s call for the company to Drop Project Nimbus.

Google has taken decisive action by terminating the employment of 28 employees after an extended sit-in protest at their Sunnyvale and New York offices. This protest was sparked by Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract signed between Google and Amazon with the Israeli government and military three years ago. This contract, which includes advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, has strict stipulations that forbids the companies from bowing to boycott pressure. Essentially, this means they must continue providing services to Israel regardless of any external pressures.

The conflict surrounding this project has been ongoing since 2021. However, with the recent escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict, it has spilled over into the workforce of companies who are not only seen as aiding Israel, but also profiting from the ongoing conflict. Countless protests and public outcry have come from within the ranks of these corporations.

The most recent protests saw employees gather outside Google’s Sunnyvale and New York offices as well as Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. Some protestors took it a step further and entered the buildings, including the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. One of these protestors, Google software engineer Hasan Ibraheem, issued a statement through the anti big-tech advocacy firm Justice Speaks. Ibraheem states that by providing cloud and AI infrastructure to the Israeli military, Google is actively involved in the genocide of the Palestinian people. He also expresses his disgust at the idea of working for a company that supports such actions and how their attempts at addressing these concerns have been ignored.

“It’s my responsibility to do everything I can to end this contract even while Google pretends nothing is wrong,” Ibraheem said. “The idea of working for a company that directly provides infrastructure for genocide makes me sick. We’ve tried sending petitions to leadership but they’ve gone ignored. We will make sure they can’t ignore us anymore.”

“We will make as much noise as possible,” Ibraheem continues. “So many workers don’t know that Google has this contract with the IOF [Israel Offensive Forces]. So many don’t know that their colleagues have been facing harassment for being Muslim, Palestinian and Arab and speaking out. So many people don’t realize how complicit their own company is. It’s our job to make sure they do.

As a result of these protests, nine Google workers were arrested and forcibly removed from the company’s offices. Four of these individuals were in New York, while five were in Sunnyvale. In a statement released by Justice Speaks on behalf of the “Nimbus nine” protestors, it is revealed that they had requested to speak with Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, but their request was denied.

“Last night, Google made the decision to arrest us, the company’s own workers – instead of engaging with our concerns about Project Nimbus,” the statement reads. “Those of us sitting in Thomas Kurian’s office repeatedly requested to speak with the CEO, but our requests were denied. Throughout the past three years, since the contract’s signing, we have repeatedly attempted to engage with Google executives about Project Nimbus through company channels, including town halls, forums, petitions, and direct outreach. However, our concerns have been ignored and instead, Google is repressing speech and condoning harassment and bullying within the company.

Also, we’ve been denied our basic rights as workers – the right to know how our labor is being used and to have a say in ensuring the technology we build is not used for harm. We should not have to work in a state of fear and anxiety, knowing that our labor may be used to power a genocide. Google is depriving us of these basic rights, and that is why we staged this sit-in protest across the country.

“But instead of addressing our concerns, Google continues to lie to its workers, the media, and the public,” the statement continues. “Even after witnessing the protests, Google still claims that Project Nimbus is not related to military operations. However, reporting from TIME Magazine proves otherwise. It has been confirmed that Google has built custom tools for Israel’s Ministry of Defense and continues to contract with the Israeli Occupational Forces. By perpetuating these lies, Google is disrespecting and disregarding its workers, consumers, and the media. We will not be silent in light of these blatant lies.

Hundreds and thousands of Google workers have joined our call to Drop Project Nimbus. Despite Google’s attempts to silence and dismiss our concerns, we will not give up. We will continue to organize and fight until Google drops Project Nimbus and stops aiding and abetting Israel’s genocide and apartheid state in Palestine.”

A spokesperson for Google has confirmed that 28 employees were fired as a result of the protests and that they will continue to investigate and take action as needed.

“These protests were part of a longstanding campaign led by groups and individuals who do not work for Google,” the spokesperson stated. “A small number of employee protestors entered and disrupted several of our locations, impeding other employees’ work and violating our policies. This behavior is completely unacceptable. After refusing multiple requests to leave, law enforcement was called to remove them for the safety of our offices.”

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Kira Kim

Kira Kim is a science journalist with a background in biology and a passion for environmental issues. She is known for her clear and concise writing, as well as her ability to bring complex scientific concepts to life for a general audience.

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