Google workers protesting company over $1.2 billion contract with Israel

Apr 16, 2024, 11:23 AM

google protest...

Exterior of a Google office located in Seattle's South Lake Union, where a pro-Palestinian rally is taking place. (Photo: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio)

Another protest against Israel’s war on Gaza began outside Google’s office Tuesday morning. The rally, made up of tech workers, is calling for Google to end work on Project Nimbus — a cloud computing project for the Israeli government.

Project Nimbus is a cloud computing project of the Israeli government and its military. The Israeli Finance Ministry claimed that the contract is to provide the government — and its defense establishment — with an all-encompassing cloud solution, but tech workers and engineers are voicing their concerns over the controversial project, claiming Israel is using the technology unjustly against Palestinians.

This rally follows a large protest that occurred Monday where 46 people were arrested for blocking the highway to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

More on pro-Palestinian protests: 46 arrested after pro-Palestinian protest shut down SEA Airport road for hours

“Google and Amazon have signed a $1.2 billion contract called Project Nimbus with the apartheid Israeli government, making it easier to surveil Palestinians, target them with artificial intelligence and force them off their land,” No Tech for Apartheid, a campaign organizing the protest, stated. “For almost three years, thousands of tech workers have already pushed back on Project Nimbus and have been met with total silence from management and executives.”

No Tech for Apartheid has more than 93,500 signatures attached to a campaign to end Project Nimbus and other businesses with “the Israeli apartheid government and military.”

“Really what this is about is protecting thousands of civilians who are still at risk of losing their lives,” Tariq Ra’ouf, an organizer of the protest, told KIRO Newsradio.

Time Magazine reported the Israeli Ministry of Defense recently requested an expansion of access into Google’s cloud using services like AI.

Google retaliating against employees

Protesters are also demanding the company also stop “retaliating” against employees who speak out. In March, Google fired an employee who publicly protested the project, saying the worker disrupted an official presentation.

During the Israeli tech industry conference, Mind The Tech, in New York, one employee publicly protested against Google’s collaboration with Israel and Project Nimbus.

More on pro-Palestinian protests: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators block traffic into Chicago airport, causing headaches for travelers

“I’m a Google software engineer and I refuse to build technology that powers genocide, apartheid or surveillance,” the employee shouted before being escorted out by security, according to The Jerusalem Post. “Project Nimbus puts Palestinian community members in danger. Don’t cloud for apartheid. Don’t tech for apartheid. Free Palestine!”

The protest planned today is reportedly one of three at Google offices across the country. The other locations include Sunnyvale, California and New York City.

Contributing: Sam Campbell, KIRO Newsradio

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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Google workers protesting company over $1.2 billion contract with Israel