Google employee resigns, accuses company of silencing Palestinians
A Google employee Ariel Koren, who sought to thwart a deal between the company and Israel announced her resignation, accusing the company of aggressive practices against its employees who express their views on its policies.
Ariel Koren, director of marketing for Google’s educational products department, announced – in a letter her intention to leave the company at the end of the week and said that “Google systematically silences Palestinian and Jewish voices.”
In a letter posted on her Twitter account, 28-year-old Ariel Koren said that she had no choice but to quit this week due to retaliatory measures, a hostile environment, and illegal actions by the company against her and many other employees with the aim of silencing them.
“I am leaving @Google this week due to retaliation & hostility against workers who speak out,” tweeted Koren. “Google moved my role overseas immediately after I opposed its $1B AI/surveillance contracts with Israel. And this is far from an isolated instance.”
She noted that she has consistently seen Google work systematically to silence Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim voices. She further expressed concern about Google’s complicity in violations of Palestinian rights, to the point of formally retaliating against employees and creating an environment of fear.
The controversy began when Koren denounced the huge deal that Google made with the Tel Aviv government in 2021 worth one billion dollars within the “Nimbus” project, which provides Israel and its military with artificial intelligence tools and other computing services.
As per a New York Times report, the company threatened Ariel, in November 2021, to agree to move to Sao Paulo in Brazil within 17 working days or lose her job.
Ariel explained that silencing dialogue and dissent in this way helped Google protect its business interests with the Israeli army and government.
Ariel Koren, who is Jewish, has worked for the company for more than seven years, helped distribute petitions to lobbyist executives and spoke to news organizations, trying to get Google to reconsider the deal.
15 other employees working for Google posted testimonies to YouTube on Tuesday about what they are exposed to (without disclosing their identities).
Employees who posted their testimonies on YouTube, as well as those who spoke with The New York Times, point to Ariel Koren’s experience as evidence that they cannot openly discuss their views for fear of losing their jobs.
American activist and former parliamentary candidate, Rana Abdel Hamid, said in a tweet, “More than a year ago, I saw for myself the way Ariel suffered from revenge just for standing up for Palestinian human rights. This revenge and hostility is unacceptable.”
It is noteworthy that hundreds of employees of Google and Amazon asked in a letter signed in October 2021 by about 400 employees of the two companies, their administrations, to stop providing the Israeli army and government with modern technology that is used to harm the Palestinians.
In April 2021, Google and Amazon announced a project under the name Nimbus worth one billion and two hundred million US dollars to provide electronic cloud services to Israel.
The project faced opposition from the employees of the two companies, and they expressed it in a letter published by the British newspaper The Guardian at the time, confirming that the project would be used to oppress the Palestinians.
This US technology allows for more monitoring and illegal data collection on Palestinians from the Israeli government and army, and facilitates the expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.
Google and Amazon employees revealed that the technology that the companies contracted to provide for Israel will make the systematic discrimination and displacement perpetrated by the Israeli army more cruel and deadly to the Palestinians.