Google fires 28 workers after protest against contract with Israel

Google has fired more than two dozen employees following protests against the company’s cloud-computing contract with the Israeli government. 

The workers were terminated after a company investigation determined they were involved in protests on Tuesday inside the tech giant’s offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president for global security, stated in a companywide email. “Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened,” he wrote.

“Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and completely unacceptable behavior. After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety,” a Google spokesperson emailed CBS MoneyWatch. 

Nine demonstrators were arrested, according to No Tech for Apartheid, the organization behind the protests, which No Tech contends were peaceful.

Demonstrators entered an office used by Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, according to a post on social media by the group.

“Google workers have the right to peacefully protest about terms and conditions of our labor. These firings were clearly retaliatory,” No Tech said in a statement.

The protests came against Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion joint contract with Amazon to provide the Israeli government with AI and cloud services. In its statement, No Tech cited a recent Time Magazine report that found Google had built custom tools for Israel’s Ministry of Defense, and contracts with the Israeli Occupation Forces.

“Google Cloud supports numerous governments around the world in countries where we operate, including the Israeli government, with our generally available cloud computing services. This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services,” according to a Google spokesperson.

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