Apple Employees Demand Company Stand With Palestinian Muslims

Company relies on Muslim slave labor

Apple employees march in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade / Getty Images
May 21, 2021

A group of Muslim employees at Apple is pushing the tech giant to publicly condemn Israel's "illegal occupation" of the Gaza Strip following a recent spate of violence caused by the terrorist group Hamas.

In a letter to CEO Tim Cook, members of the Apple Muslim Association on Monday expressed their "sadness, anger, frustration, and disappointment" about "the struggle and pain of the Palestinian people, and their decades-long existence under military occupation." The letter calls on Apple to support the Palestinian cause, noting that the company "has led the way not only on products, but on human rights issues."

The employees, however, have yet to speak out about the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China, where Apple’s supply chain is largely located. Up to one million Uyghurs are imprisoned in "reeducation camps" in the western province of Xinjiang. A recent report found photo and documentary evidence that seven Apple suppliers use Uyghur forced labor to make iPhone parts.

More than 1,000 Apple employees have signed the letter, which boasts that Apple employees "reached out to support and will continue to support our Asian communities in the face of anti-Asian hate and attacks." The letter also notes that Apple employees "will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Black and Brown communities in their fight for justice and equity."

The signatories demand Apple not use the words "conflict" or "clash" to describe the fighting in Gaza, "as those words imply a power symmetry that simply does not exist." The letter similarly demands Apple refrain from commenting on "both sides" of the conflict in Gaza, "as doing so would feel to us as the equivalent of ‘all lives matter’—a minimization of the disproportionately larger pain and suffering of the Palestinian people."

Workers at other tech companies have also called on their employers to formally condemn Israel. On Wednesday, a group of "Jewish and allied" Google employees called on the company to formally terminate its contracts with the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire early Friday morning after 11 days of fighting.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Updated 2:02 p.m. on 5/21/21.