News Release

Google and Amazon Workers Call Out Project with Israeli Military

On Tuesday, The Guardian published an anonymous statement which began: “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. … We are anonymous because we fear retaliation.

“GABRIEL SCHUBINER, via notech4apartheid@protonmail.com

Schubiner is a software engineer for Google and one of the signers of the statement to come forward. He said today: “It’s important for engineers and other workers to uphold our ethical values and ensure the company reflects that. Android and Google search users are told that privacy is a priority, but at the same time, Google is selling powerful cloud technology to those who intend to surveil those same users. This project is a bellwether.”

He wrote a just-published piece for NBC News with Bathool Syed, a content strategist at Amazon: “We’ve joined together as workers across corporate lines for the first time to send a joint letter Tuesday calling on Google and Amazon to respect Palestinian human rights and cancel Project Nimbus, the $1.2 billion venture that will provide cloud services to the Israeli government, specifically including the military. The services encompass both storage and computational resources, as well as features that enable users to easily train powerful artificial intelligence.

“Under these contracts, our cloud services would help facilitate the Israeli military’s control and persecution of Palestinians, demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied Palestinian territories and attacks on Gaza that have hit civilian targets such as hospitals. In addition to the military, Project Nimbus will also provide our cloud services to the Israel Land Authority, an agency that enables Israel’s continued expansion of segregated settlements in violation of international law and U.S. policy. …

“Nearly 1,000 anonymous signatories at Amazon and more than 600 at Google have joined this call. …

“Large tech corporations have responded to human rights concerns before, and they can do it again. In 2019, Google terminated Project Dragonfly, a censored search engine in China, and pulled out of the Pentagon’s Project Maven in 2018. The same principles should apply to the Project Nimbus contracts and all future contracts based on their real-world consequences. Since we have no ability to guarantee that the technology we build won’t be used to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians, cutting the contracts entirely is the only ethical option left for our companies.”

Also see: NoTechForApartheid.com.