Tech Workers Are Demanding End to Contract That Fuels Israeli Apartheid

Protests were held in four cities by hundreds of community members and workers. Project NimbusOn Thursday, Google, Amazon and the Israeli government signed the $1.2 billion contract titled.

“There can be no tech for war. No tech for apartheid,” Alex Hanna, director of research at the Distributed AI Research Institute, expressed to a crowd of demonstrators led by Amazon and Google tech workers.

While the cloud-computing project has been hailed as a “game changer” for Israel, activists have feared that it will lead to data privacy issues, especially if utilized by the Israeli military to further the surveillance and data collection of Palestinians.

Google’s own internal documents suggest that Project Nimbus would allow the Israeli government and military to use “facial detection, automated image categorization, [and] object tracking” that workers believe will be used to fuel Israeli apartheid. According to a reportFrom The InterceptProject Nimbus is an advanced artificial intelligence technology provided to Israel, including the Israel Defense Forces. It could be used to digitally monitor occupied Palestinian territories.

Google has been expanding its defense contractsDespite the objections of its workers. In the Guardian, Google workers stated that “These contracts are part of a disturbing pattern of militarization, lack of transparency and avoidance of oversight … We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

Ariel Koren, an ex-Google worker, organized the Workers Against Nimbus, a collective of tech workers who rallied around the slogan #NoTechForApartheid to oppose this project. Koren, who resigned as Google employee due to an alleged pattern of retaliationProject Nimbus has been publicly criticised by a number of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and anti-Zionist Jewish people. She is concerned that the technology could be used to harm and surveil Palestinians.

Hundreds of employees signed an agreement earlier this year. an internal petitionDemanding that Google stop its alleged retaliation against Koren. In response to Koren’s resignation, 15 workers against the project, who remained anonymous in fear of retaliation, told their stories about their experiences working at Google and its alleged culture of fear and repression.

In response to Koren’s forced resignation, tech workers organized a national day of action to escalate pressure on their companies to drop the contract. The protesting tech workers were joined by Jewish Voice for Peace, the Athena Coalition, the Adalah Justice Project, AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center, ACRE Action Center on Race and the Economy, and the Alphabet Workers Union.

Google workers protest at work are the latest in a series of actions since 2021 when the company announced its contract. worst violenceSince 2014, in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The contract was signed in the same week as the Israeli military attacked the Gaza Strip by the Palestinians. killing nearly 250 people. Workers have circulated petitions and spoken to the media. an internal letterSundar Pichai, Google CEO was requested to issue a statement condemning Israeli attacks against the Palestinians.

Bathool Syed, an Amazon worker, stated in a press release from Google & Amazon Workers Against Project Nimbus that, “There is no way for Amazon and Google to justify a contract with a government that has violated numerous human rights and continues to oppress Palestinian lives. As workers, we are powerful and are sending a clear message that we do not want our labor to power violence.”

Organizers hope that the #NoTechforApartheid protests can push their companies. to drop the computing contractAnd agree to the demands sent to Google’s executive team to reject future defense contracts, fund relief for Palestinians, protect their worker’s freedom of speech, and affirm the companies’ commitment to human rights principles.