News   /   Society

Jewish Google employee quits over 'silencing' of Palestinian coworkers

A worker walks along a path at Google’s Bay View campus in Mountain View, California, June 27, 2022. (File by AFP)

A Google employee who had been a vocal critic of the company's billion-dollar contract with the Israeli military says she plans to quit her job, accusing the tech giant of retaliating against employees who speak out in support of Palestine.

Ariel Koren, a marketing manager for Google's educational products, published a memo on Medium to colleagues announcing her plan to quit. She also said that the tech giant tried to retaliate against her for her activism.

"Due to retaliation, a hostile environment, and illegal actions by the company, I cannot continue to work at Google and have no choice but to leave the company at the end of this week," she said in her letter.

"Instead of listening to employees who want Google to live up to its ethical principles, Google is aggressively pursuing military contracts and stripping away the voices of its employees through a pattern of silencing and retaliation towards me and many others."

Koren, who is Jewish, spent more than a year organizing against Project Nimbus, a $1.2-billion agreement for Google and Amazon to supply Israeli military with cloud and computing services.

In an online letter posted Tuesday, Koren also complained about what she described as Google’s treatment of pro-Palestinian employees inside the company. She said Google does so to protect its business interests with the Israeli regime and military.

“Google systematically silences Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim voices concerned about Google’s complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights — to the point of formally retaliating against workers and creating an environment of fear,” Koren wrote.

In her letter, Koren pointed to an internal group called Jewglers that is supposed to represent all Jewish workers at Google. Instead, she said it is used to attack workers like her who support the Palestinians.

“In practice, this group is systemically functioning as an outlet to drive forward right-wing ideologies under the guise of promoting diversity.”

She said members of Muslim and Arab groups at Google were also being surveilled by members of the Jewglers group and were sent aggressive messages.

In one instance, after Israel launched an airstrike into Gaza, killing hundreds of Palestinians, Koren said Jewglers demanded Google express support for Israelis. Company executives including CEO Sundar Pichai ultimately did, she said.

Koren pointed to an incident when Google employees were invited to virtually tour Hebron, an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine. A Jewish worker responded, asking if the tour would include a conversation of the “ongoing war crimes committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinian population.” Her reply was flagged for discrimination, harassment, and bullying, which Koren said was, in fact, a “simple” message of support for Palestinian human rights. 

In March, the Los Angeles Times reported that said Project Nimbus would facilitate the surveillance of Palestinians, as well as assist the expansion of Israeli settlements.

Soon after voicing her concerns, Koren was told her role was moving to a different location and that she had 17 days to relocate or lose her job.

Koren’s departure is just the latest by Google employees who say they’ve either been sidelined or fired for speaking out about a variety of topics in recent years.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku