Google Employees Demand Company Cut Ties With Israel

Getty Images
May 19, 2021

A group of "Jewish and allied" Google employees on Wednesday called on the tech giant to terminate its contracts with the Israel Defense Forces and formally condemn Israel.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, 250 members of the Jewish Diaspora in Tech group called on the company to "heed the requests framed by Palestinian Googlers and center their voices going forward." The letter also asks Google to fund Palestinian relief organizations, "recognize the pain" of Palestinians in a formal statement, and "reject any definition of antisemitism that holds that criticism of Israel or Zionism is antisemitic."

The letter comes as Israel weathers ongoing attacks from Hamas, which has bombarded Israel with thousands of rockets. Google came under fire earlier this week after its subsidiary YouTube twice banned a video defending Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The Washington Free Beacon reported that YouTube blamed the censorship on the shoddy technology the company has adopted during the coronavirus pandemic.

The signatories, whose identities were not included in the copy of the letter that the group made publicly available, allege that other groups of Google employees have demanded Google take a "one-sided pro-Israel perspective" and "support the sovereign state." Other media outlets have repeated the allegation.

Jewish Diaspora in Tech formed as a breakaway from "Jewglers," an affinity group at Google for Jewish employees. According to the Verge, the Diaspora group consists of members upset at the generally pro-Israel beliefs of Jewglers.

Google has caved to employee pressure before, declining to renew an AI contract with the Department of Defense, Project Maven, in 2018 after internal pushback.

Google did not reply to a request for comment.