Google Launches ‘Jewish Allyship’ Bathroom Campaign to Address Anti-Semitism in Workplace

‘Jewglers’ feeling especially vulnerable, fliers say

(Paresh Dave/Reuters)
October 25, 2023

Google headquarters launched a campaign promoting sensitivity to Jews in the workplace by posting educational fliers in its office bathroom stalls last week, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

The bathroom fliers, which instructed Google employees that "every Jew is different" and to "avoid assuming a Jewish colleague represents the Israeli government," come as the tech company has faced criticism over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments by employees. Google was forced to reassign its head of diversity strategy in 2021, after the Free Beacon reported that he had accused Jews of having an "insatiable appetite for war."

The controversies have put pressure on the company to address anti-Semitism in the workplace. Last week, Google pulled out of the Web Summit technology conference, after the organizer accused Israel of committing "war crimes."

A Google spokesman told the Free Beacon that the bathroom fliers are part of the company’s long-running "Learning on the Loo" series, which often feature career tips and advice. He said the "Jewish allyship" campaign had been in the works for weeks, before Hamas’s mass terrorist attacks in Israel.

The fliers noted that "Antisemitism (discrimination, hostility, and prejudice against Jewish people) has been on the rise in the world. This historical moment when your Jewish colleagues (a.k.a. ‘Jewglers’) are feeling especially vulnerable is an important time to practice allyship."

The campaign advised Google employees that Jewish people vary in appearance and belief, that they have differing views on Israel and that they often find Holocaust comparisons offensive. It also notes that many Jews eat Kosher food and celebrate Jewish holidays.

"There is no ‘Jewish’ physical appearance, dress, or standard of practice. Some Jewish people lean into their Jewish identity as a form of religious expression, while others identify with it culturally," said the fliers.

"While most Jewish people believe that Israel is their ancestral homeland, they may never have visited, nor even know about, or agree with specific actions of the state of Israel."

The fliers said employees should "[a]void polarizing political discussions at work" and concluded by noting "in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Israel, please check in on and support your colleagues."

Google has faced controversies over anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments by its employees in the past. The company’s head of diversity strategy, Kamau Bobb, had a history of inflammatory comments about Jews, the Free Beacon reported in 2021.

"If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself," he wrote in a Nov. 30, 2007, post on his personal blog, where he was still publishing as recently as April 2021. "Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others."

Bobb was reassigned by Google after the reports.

Ariel Koren, an anti-Israel activist who worked as a marketing manager for Google, reportedly resigned from her position last year after she spearheaded a failed campaign to pressure the company into cutting business ties with an Israeli firm. Koren has defended Hamas in the wake of its brutal attacks against Israeli civilians.

A Google spokesman noted that the company has condemned the Hamas attacks in Gaza and recently signed on to a pledge to fight anti-Semitism in the workplace.