Anti-Israel Orgs (Including Linda Sarsour’s) Behind Google & Amazon Workers’ Protest Letter

On October 12th, a group of anonymous Google and Amazon workers published a letter in the Guardian, protesting their company’s agreement for the Nimbus project ‘to sell dangerous technology to the Israeli military and government.’

We are Google and Amazon workers. We condemn Project Nimbus

Anonymous Google and Amazon workers

We cannot support our employer’s decision to supply the Israeli military and government technology that is used to harm Palestinians

We are writing as Google and Amazon employees of conscience from diverse backgrounds. We believe that the technology we build should work to serve and uplift people everywhere, including all of our users. As workers who keep these companies running, we are morally obligated to speak out against violations of these core values. For this reason, we are compelled to call on the leaders of Amazon and Google to pull out of Project Nimbus and cut all ties with the Israeli military. So far, more than 90 workers at Google and more than 300 at Amazon have signed this letter internally. We are anonymous because we fear retaliation.

We have watched Google and Amazon aggressively pursue contracts with institutions like the US Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), and state and local police departments. These contracts are part of a disturbing pattern of militarization, lack of transparency and avoidance of oversight.

Continuing this pattern, our employers signed a contract called Project Nimbus to sell dangerous technology to the Israeli military and government. This contract was signed the same week that the Israeli military attacked Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – killing nearly 250 people, including more than 60 children. The technology our companies have contracted to build will make the systematic discrimination and displacement carried out by the Israeli military and government even crueler and deadlier for Palestinians.

Project Nimbus is a $1.2bn contract to provide cloud services for the Israeli military and government. This technology allows for further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land.

We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights, force Palestinians out of their homes and attack Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – actions that have prompted war crime investigations by the international criminal court.

We envision a future where technology brings people together and makes life better for everyone. To build that brighter future, the companies we work for need to stop contracting with any and all militarized organizations in the US and beyond. These contracts harm the communities of technology workers and users alike. While we publicly promise to uplift and assist our users, contracts such as these secretly facilitate the surveillance and targeting of those same users.

We condemn Amazon and Google’s decision to sign the Project Nimbus contract with the Israeli military and government, and ask them to reject this contract and future contracts that will harm our users. We call on global technology workers and the international community to join with us in building a world where technology promotes safety and dignity for all.

My first reaction at the time of reading it was “Well, look at that. 300 anonymous employees of Amazon and Google have signed on an anti-Israel letter. 300 out of a total of almost 1.5 million employees. And they’ve decided to speak out only now, despite admitting to having “watched Google and Amazon aggressively pursue contracts with institutions like the US Department of Defense, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), and state and local police departments… contracts part of a disturbing pattern of militarization, lack of transparency and avoidance of oversight “”

But it turns out this was no grassroots, outpouring of emotion by concerned employees. This was a well-orchestrated campaign organized by Linda Sarsour’s Israel-hating organization MPower change, among others:

MPower Change initially tweeted how the letter came from the employees, and later admitted they launched #notechforapartheid, which we know already had a website preceding the letter.

Besides MPower Change and JVP, it looks like a total of 41 organizations are behind it:

If I had to put my money on whose idea it originally was, my money would be on Sarsour. Firstly, because she is cunning like that. But also, because of this bit of news I blogged about recently:

My guess is Sarsour has contacts/allies within both Google and Amazon, who help advance her agenda. If I am correct, then I suspect Ariel Koren, currently the Product Marketing Manager for Google for Education, is one of them.

(Incidentally, Koren served on the private sector outreach team in the White House Office of Public Engagement for the Obama administration, and was Co-Chair of the White House LGBT intern association).

Could it be that Koren (or others) were involved in promoting Sarsour as a speaker at Web Summit, or alternatively, in encouraging Google to sponsor the event? Granted, Google’s sponsorship and Sarsour’s involvement may be totally unrelated, but what this shows is she definitely has allies on the inside.

It also (again) shows just how dishonest the Israel-haters are.

Update: Gabriel Schubiner, software engineer and researcher at Google and Bathool Syed, content strategist at Amazon, were also somehow involved.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media