Google Fires Employees Protesting Against Israeli Contract

Google has terminated 28 employees who participated in a sit-in at the company’s New York and California offices. The protest reportedly disrupted the tech giant’s daily operations and appeared to target Google’s involvement in “Project Nimbus,” a $1.2 billion agreement that will include supplying cloud computing services to the Israeli government.

The company has said the employees were fired for violating apolitical corporate policies, including impeding the work of others and defacing property. The employees were reportedly engaged as part of a protest organized by “No Tech For Apartheid,” an activist group that has been particularly critical of Google’s decisions to do business with the Israeli government. Those criticisms have significantly ramped up since Israel has responded to last October’s terror attack by Hamas outside of Gaza.

During the protests, employees demanded the company sever ties with the Israeli government, claiming the technology could be used against Palestinians. This action escalated when employees occupied the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in Sunnyvale and were subsequently arrested for trespassing.

The group also posted several videos on social media depicting the protests and their demands. No Tech For Apartheid has taken a direct position by claiming Google fired the protesting employees in an act of “illegal retaliation.”

A Google spokesperson said the company will not tolerate behavior that “disrupts our workplace or violates our policies.” The statement went on to say Google’s longstanding policies are designed to “ensure a respectful work environment for all our employees.”

The firings are part of a growing trend of tech workers demanding accountability and transparency in how their work impacts broader geopolitical issues. Even as Google points to clear violations of legitimate corporate policies, it is certain many progressives will insist that the company should place employee complaints above day-to-day operations.

The tech industry, known for its progressive stance on employee engagement and open dialogue, faces a significant test in handling dissent, especially when it intersects with global politics. The progressive inclination to support Palestinian political movements is likely to directly conflict with the fiduciary duty every corporation has to protect the interests of its shareholders.