Google fires 28 workers for protesting $1.2 billion Israel deal

Google has fired two dozen employees in protest of the company's $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud and artificial intelligence services to the Israeli government and military.

The group that organized the demonstration, No. Technology for apartheid.

Protesters sat in his office for more than nine hours, wearing t-shirts and carrying placards reading “No more genocide for profit,” until they were arrested.

It is the latest high-profile confrontation in the US fueled by tensions in the Israel-Hamas war.

“These protests are part of a long-running campaign by a group of companies and people who mostly don't work at Google,” a Google spokesperson told NBC News in a statement Wednesday.

“A small number of employee protesters entered and disrupted some of our spaces. Physically disrupting the work of other employees and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies and completely unacceptable behavior. After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement to ensure office security are engaged in their removal,” the statement said.

“We have so far completed individual investigations resulting in the termination of 28 employees and will continue to investigate and take action as required,” it added.

The protests were led by tech workers' group No Tech for Apartheid, which has been demanding that Amazon and Google drop their Project Nimbus, a joint $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence services and data centers to the Israeli government and military. .

He said that apartheid technology had fired Google employees “indiscriminately” and that the workers had “engaged in a peaceful sit-in and did not damage property or threaten other workers by refusing to leave.”

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“This excuse to avoid directly confronting us and our concerns and trying to justify its illegal, retaliatory firings is a lie,” it said in a statement late Wednesday, accusing the company of valuing its contract with the Israeli government over its employees. .

Google issued a stark warning to its employees, with the company's vice president of global security, Chris Racove, saying, “If you're one of the few who thinks we're going to overlook behavior that violates our policies, think again. Again,” according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC.

The agency also said its work was “not intended for highly sensitive, classified or military workloads associated with weapons or intelligence services.”

“Google Cloud supports many governments in countries where we operate, including the Israeli government, with our publicly available cloud computing services,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday evening.

The Israeli Prime Minister's Office and the Israel Defense Forces did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

The workers protested working conditions at the company – saying the contract affects “health and safety at work” – and what they said was “Google's disregard for the well-being of our Palestinian, Arab and Muslim colleagues”. facing Google enables racism, discrimination, harassment and censorship.

The program has become a “major health and safety workplace conditions issue,” with “several employees leaving citing the mental health consequences of using their labor to implement a genocide in an organization,” the group said in a statement. Medium On Wednesday.

“On a personal level, I'm opposed to Google taking any military contracts — no matter what government they're with or what the contract is,” Washington-based Google Cloud software engineer Shane Anderson told CNBC on Wednesday.

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Anderson was one of nine workers arrested across the country on Tuesday, some of which were streamed live on Twitch.

Four people were arrested for “trespassing” inside Google's New York office, a New York police spokeswoman told NBC News on Wednesday. About 50 protesters attended the demonstration, the spokesman said.

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