Google Fires 28 Employees Protesting Company’s Contract With Israel Govt

Google last Wednesday fired 28 employees who participated in organized sit-ins at its New York and California offices on April 16 to protest the company’s contract with the Israeli government, the Associated Press reported.

Nine Google employees from both the Sunnyvale, California and New York City offices were arrested for participating in sit-ins. The company said in a statement that it took action against the protesters for “physically impeding” the work of other Google employees by preventing them access to the company’s facilities.

The sit-ins, organized by the group No Tech For Apartheid, were in protest of “Project Nimbus,” a contract signed by Google and Amazon in 2021 to provide Israel with artificial intelligence and cloud computing services.

In an April 17 statement, the company said the 28 employees were terminated after they participated in “completely unacceptable behavior” that created a threatening atmosphere and prevented other Google employees from doing their jobs. Google indicated others could also be fired as it continues to investigate what occurred during the April 16 sit-ins.

A spokesperson for Google said the protests were organized by individuals who were not employed by the company and only a “small number” of Google employees were involved.

No Tech For Apartheid accused Google of misrepresenting the protest, which it described as a “peaceful sit-in” that was overwhelmingly supported by other Google employees.

The group accused Google of “flagrant” retaliation for “indiscriminately” firing the employees involved in the sit-in. It suggested that by doing so, the company proved that it valued the $1.2 billion contract with Israel more than it valued its employees.

Google insisted that the support it provides through Project Nimbus had nothing to do with “highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads” involving weapons or intelligence gathering.

NBC News reported that Google’s president of global security warned employees in an internal memo that the company would not “overlook conduct that violates our policies.”