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Google Fires 28 Workers Who Protested its Contracts With Israel

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Photo: https://time.com/6966102/google-contract-israel-defense-ministry-gaza-war/

Google says it terminated 28 employees associated with protests of the company’s $1.2 billion cloud computing contracts with the Israeli government on Wednesday. The firings follow the arrests of nine Google employees for trespassing in the company’s New York and California offices on Tuesday during an hours-long sit-in protest.

“A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted a few of our locations,” said a Google spokesperson in an emailed statement to Gizmodo. “We have so far concluded individual investigations that resulted in the termination of employment for 28 employees, and will continue to investigate and take action as needed.”

Google claims these protests impeded other employees’ work and prevented them from accessing facilities. No Tech for Apartheid tells Gizmodo that 19 of the employees fired on Wednesday did not directly participate in the sit-in protests, but were associated with the movement.

“This flagrant act of retaliation is a clear indication that Google values its $1.2 billion contract with the genocidal Israeli government and military more than its own workers,” said a No Tech for Apartheid spokesperson in an emailed statement. “Google workers have the right to peacefully protest about terms and conditions of our labor.”

A Google spokesperson tells Gizmodo the cloud computing contracts at the center of these protests, Project Nimbus, are not directed at highly sensitive military workloads related to weapons or intelligence services. However, Time reported last week that Google provides cloud computing services to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The report claims the tech giant has recently negotiated a deeper partnership with Israel during the war in Gaza.

These 28 workers are not the first Google employees to be fired for protesting the company’s contracts with Israel. They join Eddie Hatfield, a Google software-engineer who was fired after disrupting an Israeli tech conference by yelling, “No tech for apartheid!” while a Google executive was speaking.

There’s some discrepancy over why these workers were fired. No Tech for Apartheid says Google listed “bullying” and “harassment” as the reasons for the worker firings. However, the workers allege their protests were peaceful, and claim they themselves feel bullied by Google’s response.

No Tech for Apartheid’s protest represents an increasingly loud voice within Google and Amazon opposing big tech’s cooperation with Israel. The movement’s New York protest gathered over 100 protesters on Tuesday and reportedly dozens more in Sunnyvale, California. The movement claims to have the support of “thousands of colleagues” within Google and Amazon. Organizers say they will continue protesting until the company drops Project Nimbus.

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