Google, Amazon staff call for cancellation of $1.2 billion Israel contract

In public letter, hundreds of employees of the two tech giants call for cancellation of $1.2 billion contract with Israeli government.

Dan Verbin ,

Computing (illustrative)
Computing (illustrative)
iStock

Hundreds of Google and Amazon employees signed a public letter published Tuesday in The Guardian calling on both tech companies to cancel Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion venture that will provide cloud computing services to Israel.

The letter, which as of Tuesday was signed by 90 workers at Google and over 300 at Amazon, also demanded that both tech giants severe all ties with the Israeli military.

The workers said they were “anonymous because we fear retaliation.”

The letter stated: “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.”

The letter alleged that Project Nimbus was a contract to “sell dangerous technology to the Israeli military and government.”

It accused Google and Amazon of signing the contract during the “same week that the Israeli military attacked Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – killing nearly 250 people, including more than 60 children” in reference to the May conflict between Israel and Hamas in which Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets from Gaza at civilian areas in Israel.

It further claimed that by signing on to Project Nimbus, Google and Amazon would be enabling “systematic discrimination and displacement carried out by the Israeli military and government even crueler and deadlier for Palestinians” by allowing for “further surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and [facilitating] expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land.”

The authors of the letter said that they “cannot look the other way,” alleging the technology they are contracted to create will be “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.”

The letter concluded: “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.”

Mike Daniels, vice president of Google Cloud’s Global Public Sector, said in a May statement that the contract for Project Nimbus will build cloud computing services for Israeli government ministries and state-owned companies. It will initially run for seven years, with an option to renew the program for up to 16 more years.



top