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Amazon and Google employees demand firms cut Israeli military contracts

Nearly 400 employees urge their respective companies to forgo a $1.2bn contract that will see the two tech companies provide services to Israel's military and government
Amazon and Google were previously called upon by employees to terminate any of their contracts with the Israeli military.
Amazon and Google were previously called upon by employees to terminate their contracts with the Israeli military (AFP/File photo)
By MEE staff in Washington

A group of 400 workers at tech giants Amazon and Google released an open letter on Tuesday, calling on their employers to pull out of a $1.2bn contract with the Israeli government and cut all ties with the country's military.

More than 300 Amazon and more than 90 Google employees anonymously signed the letter demanding the termination of Project Nimbus, which will see the two tech companies provide cloud services to the Israeli public sector and the Israeli military.

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"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," the workers said in the letter published in the Guardian newspaper.

"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."

The group of anonymous tech workers say the contract will deliver cloud services to Israel that will help illegally collect data on Palestinians, which could be used to further policies described by rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, as crimes of apartheid.

"We cannot look the other way, as the products we build are used to deny Palestinians their basic rights," they said.

Calls to support Palestinian rights

During Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip in May, the two companies came under fire and were called upon by employees to terminate their contracts with the Israeli military.

The Israeli offensive killed at least 248 Palestinians, including dozens of children, and destroyed homes and buildings in the besieged enclave.

At the time, a group of Google employees sent a letter to the company's CEO, Sundar Pichai, to put out a statement condemning the attacks, including "direct recognition of the harm done to Palestinians by Israeli military and gang violence".

Several days later, more than 600 Amazon employees sent a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos, urging the company "to commit to review and sever business contracts and corporate donations with companies, organizations, and/or governments that are active or complicit in human rights violations," including the Israeli military.

Another tech giant, Apple, was also called on to put out a statement and recognise that "millions of Palestinian people currently suffer under an illegal occupation".

The calls from Amazon and Google, however, went unanswered, as the companies signed the Project Nimbus contract with Israel on 24 May.

In response to Tuesday's letter, a spokesperson for Amazon Web Services told Middle East Eye that the company was "focused on making the benefits of our world-leading cloud technology available to all our customers, wherever they are located".

Google did not respond to MEE's request for comment.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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