Google Employees Protest Company’s Billion Dollar Contract With Israel

Employees from two different Google offices on Tuesday protested the work the company does with the Israeli government.

The employees are objecting to a contract the company signed with Israel back in 2021, and that’s worth billions of dollars.

Sit-ins were organized for the two locations — one in the New York City offices and one in Sunnyvale, California.

The California sit-in was organized by No Tech for Apartheid, an activist group. During the protest, people entered the office of Thomas Kurian, the CEO of Google Cloud. They insisted they wouldn’t leave until Google backed out of the contract, which is valued at $1.2 billion.

The contract is called Project Nimbus, and it’s shared between Google and Amazon. Under terms of the contract, the companies provide the Israeli government with cloud computing services.

The contract, signed back in 2021, has received significant backlash from activists and workers since the beginning. Objections really escalated in recent months, though, as Israel continues to wage an all-out war with the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.

Emaan Haseem, a software engineer at Google, objects to Google’s involvement with Israel, even though there could be repercussions. As she told local news outlet ABC 7 News:

“I would not like to lose my job. But, I think that it is impossible for me to continue coming into work every week without acknowledging and loudly condemning Project Nimbus and any support for the Israeli government.”

Under the contract, various branches of Israel’s government are able to share the services that Amazon and Google provide to them.

Back in 2021, some employees raised concerns after officials in Israel said neither company could shut down their services nor bar services to particular branches of the government.

Last week, Time magazine issued a report that said Google has provided cloud computing services to the Israel Defense Ministry, which has been responsible for the main handling of the war with Hamas.

In a statement sent to media outlet The Hill, a spokesperson for Google said this week:

“Google Cloud supports numerous governments around the world in countries where we operate, including the Israeli government, with our generally available cloud computing services.

“We have been very clear that the Nimbus contract is for workloads running on our commercial cloud by Israeli government ministries, who agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy. This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

According to the spokesperson, the protests that were carried out on Tuesday involved people and organizations who “largely” don’t work at Google.

The employees who participated were put on administrative leave, and the company said it would continue to investigate and “take action” regarding these employees.”

As the spokesperson continued:

“A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted a couple of our locations. Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and we will investigate and take action.”