28 workers were fired for protesting Cloud Deal with Israel

New York protesters gather to protest Google Cloud Service Contracts in the Israeli Defense Forces after the October 7 Israeli attack: Google’s response to The Intercept

The contract for artificial intelligence, as well as video analysis, was published by The Intercept and sparked a protest by workers outside company offices. The protesting tech workers say such capabilities could be used by Israel’s security apparatus to harm Palestinians.

Israel’s military assault on Gaza, which began after Hamas killed about 1,100 Israelis on October 7, has added new fuel to the internal opposition to Project Nimbus. The Israel Defence Forces have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians since bombing and moving into Gaza last fall.

The action called on Google to drop a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with the Israeli government known as Project Nimbus that also involves Amazon. Last week Time reported that the contract involves providing direct services to the Israel Defense Forces.

The workers in New York have been arrested. They also include two workers who identified themselves by their first names as Jesús and Mohammed on a speaker-phone call with protesters outside Google’s New York office Tuesday.

There were protests outside the company’s offices in New York, Seattle, and Palo Alto during the sit-ins. Google’s Kowalczyk characterized the participation by employees as “a small number.”

“We will not be leaving,” a protesting worker replies. A man in uniform then introduces the officers as NYPD and delivers a final ultimatum, saying the workers have a last chance to walk out freely. “If not, you can be arrested for trespass,” he says. Police officers put protesters in handcuffs when they refuse to leave.

Google employees fired in demonstrations against Project Nimbus: a lawsuit by tech workers accused of violating US civil rights based on Silicon Valley data

The vast majority of employees of parent company, Alphabet, work at the search giant. Protesters who participated in Tuesday’s protest say they have support within the company.

Jane Chung, a spokesperson for No Tech for Apartheid—the coalition of tech workers and Muslim- and Jewish-led activist groups MPower Change and Jewish Voice for Peace that organized the protests—says that some workers who were fired were involved in much less provocative action than those who occupied offices.

Some, she said, had simply attended an outdoor protest and taken a t-shirt handed out by organizers. Others were “flyering outside, standing near the protesters for safety.”

Zelda Montes, a now-former YouTube software engineer who says they were arrested after occupying Google’s New York office for more than ten hours, accuses the company of breaching US legal protections for workers.

Google fired twenty-eight employees Wednesday after they participated in protests against Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion cloud contract with Israel’s government that also includes Amazon.

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