In recent weeks, Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion agreement between major tech companies and the Israeli government and military, has come under scrutiny. Among those challenging this partnership is Ariel Koren, a former Google employee, who publicly resigned from the company, shedding light on the issues surrounding this controversial project. This move has sparked discussions among Google employees and allies who are concerned about the implications of such collaborations.
As Project Nimbus continues to raise ethical questions, it’s crucial to examine the concerns and perspectives of those within Google who are actively voicing their opposition to this agreement. Here, we share the thoughts and experiences of 15 individuals—Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, anti-Zionist Jews, and other allies—who are speaking out against anti-Palestinian racism within the company and advocating for justice.
1. “HR issued warnings… for having empathy” by a Palestinian Worker at Google
This Google employee, who has been with the company for nearly a decade, recounts how their sense of belonging and acceptance at work took a significant hit after the Israeli assault on Gaza in May 2021. They express feelings of marginalization and erasure of their identity when Google leaders offered condolences to Israelis affected by the conflict without acknowledging the impact on Palestinian Googlers. They also highlight instances where coworkers were reprimanded for expressing empathy towards Palestinians. The employee points out that Google’s financial interests in Israel translate into policies that weaponize accusations of antisemitism against those who advocate for Palestinian rights.
2. “I feel like I’m working for the bad guy” by a Palestinian Googler
This Google employee joined the company around the time of Israel’s attack on Gaza in May 2021. They express their disillusionment with Google’s apathy towards the suffering it profits from, emphasizing the disparity in Google’s responses to different global issues. The employee notes that Google seems to take clear stances against aggression and suffering in some situations but not when it comes to abuses that directly impact Palestinians. They point out that the company ignores violations against Palestinians while endorsing and funding groups that harm them, which leaves them feeling like they’re working for an entity that accepts their suffering as collateral damage.
3. “I don’t see a future at this company” by an Arab Google Worker
This employee discusses Google’s focus on diversity and inclusion but criticizes its lack of attention to Palestinian voices. They express their disappointment with Google’s response to the Project Nimbus deal and the neglect of Palestinians’ perspectives. The employee questions whether they want to remain at Google due to their frustration with the company’s stance on this issue. They acknowledge that speaking out openly could have serious repercussions on their career and personal life, including being accused of antisemitism, highlighting the challenges of expressing support for Palestinian rights within the company.
4. “Google is punishing Jews who stand up for Palestinian rights” by a Jewish Google Employee
This Google employee criticizes the behavior of the Jewglers (Jewish Googlers Employee Resource Group) and the group’s failure to represent all Jewish people at Google. They recount instances of being shamed, bullied, and silenced by Jewglers for their opposition to Zionism. The employee points out that Google’s actions have created a hostile work environment, driven a wedge between Jewish and other employee resource groups, and promoted a culture that erases Palestinian experiences. They also criticize Google’s financial support of pro-Israeli military organizations, highlighting the disconnect between the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts and its actions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
These voices from within Google provide valuable insights into the challenges and complexities faced by employees who advocate for Palestinian rights and justice. Their experiences shed light on the internal dynamics surrounding Project Nimbus and the broader issues of inclusivity, diversity, and corporate responsibility within tech companies. As the conversation around Project Nimbus continues, these voices serve as a reminder of the importance of fostering open dialogue, empathy, and accountability in corporate environments.