Amazon Employees Pressure Company To Cut Ties With Israel

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos / AP
May 26, 2021

Amazon employees are pressuring the company's leadership to divest from the Israel Defense Forces days after a ceasefire agreement brought an end to weeks of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem.

In a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos first reported by The Verge, Amazon employees call for the company to terminate a $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government. Over 500 employees have signed the letter, which asks "Amazon leadership to acknowledge the continued assault upon Palestinians' basic human rights under an illegal occupation."

Employees at major tech companies also publicly denounced Israel as it launched counterstrikes against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Workers at Apple and Google sent letters to corporate leaders asking them to condemn and cut ties with Israel.  All three letters reflect a growing interest from Silicon Valley workers in using corporate power to weigh in on geopolitical issues.

The Amazon letter calls on the company to avoid "using language that implies a power symmetry or situational equivalency" between Israel and Hamas terrorists. The letter also demands that Amazon "commit to spending equitable time and effort to learn about and engage with the Palestinian community," language pulled directly from the Apple employee letter. The signatories claim Amazon is "erasing" its Palestinian workers by not putting out a statement on the conflict.

Tech employee groups have used similar tactics to lobby against engagement with the U.S. military. Google caved to employee pressure in 2018 when it declined to renew an AI contract with the Department of Defense called Project Maven. The tactic has also worked in personnel decisions. In early May, Apple employees successfully lobbied to have ad executive Antonio García Martínez fired because of passages in his memoir they found offensive.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.