Jewish Google Employee Quits, Claiming Retaliation for Speaking Against Google-Israel Partnership

“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,” Koren wrote.

Aaron Bandler is an investigative journalist for the Jewish Journal. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

September 1, 2022
The Google headquarters on September 2, 2015 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A Jewish Google employee announced her resignation from the tech giant in a public letter, claiming that Google retaliated against her for speaking out against Google’s partnership with Israel.

The former employee, Ariel Koren, wrote in an August 30 Medium post that she was opposed to Project Nimbus, which she described as “a $1.2 billion dollar contract between Google, Amazon, and the Israeli government and military.” “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,” Koren wrote. “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 then turned to “Jewglers,” a group representing Jewish employees at Google, claiming that they are advancing “right-wing ideologies under the guise of promoting diversity.” As an example, she pointed to the Jewglers pressuring Google to apologize to donating to the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) organization in June 2020 because of their “alignment” with pro-Palestinian groups. M4BL’s 2016 platform called Israel an apartheid state and accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians, though their updated 2020 platform did not mention Israel at all. Koren also accused the Jewglers of censoring viewpoints critical of the Israeli government’s military action in the Gaza Strip during the May 2021 Israel-Hamas conflict.

As for the retaliation, Koren alleged that in November 2021, Google had forced her to either relocate to Brazil or be terminated when she came back from disability leave; Koren went on leave after dealing with an executive who she claimed was using “hateful slurs” toward other employees. A month before Google’s ultimatum, Koren helped launch a petition lobbying Google to cease their involvement with Project Nimbus and she publicly criticized the tech giant over the project. Koren filed a complaint against Google over their ultimatum; the human resources (HR) team concluded that the ultimatum was “improper and harmful” but didn’t amount to retaliation. When Koren asked why, they said the issues stemmed from miscommunication.

“I have made the difficult decision to leave the company as a result of all of this,” Koren wrote. “I have borne constant witness to a pattern of retaliation against workers who stand up for Palestinian rights and for holding the Israeli government and military accountable. Google has consistently sustained a culture of silencing anti-Zionist Jews, and creating toxic and unjust conditions for Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim workers at Google, all while ignoring the widespread internal and public dissent against the company’s complicity in Israel’s apartheid violence via Project Nimbus.”

A Google spokesperson told Business Insider that a company investigation concluded that no retaliation occurred against Koren, and that a government agency also investigated the matter and came to the same conclusion. “We are proud that Google Cloud has been selected by the Israeli government to provide public cloud services to help digitally transform the country,” the spokesperson added. “The project includes making Google Cloud Platform available to government agencies for everyday workloads such as finance, healthcare, transportation, and education, but it is not directed to highly sensitive or classified workloads.”

Pro-Israel influencer Emily Schrader noted in a tweet that Hamas had praised Koren’s open letter. “When a terrorist organization is applauding your stance you’re doing something wrong,” Schrader wrote.

UPDATE: The Palestinian feminist group Falestiniyat Seattle announced on Twitter that they would be holding a protest at Google’s Seattle campus on September 8 to protest Amazon and Google’s “contract with the Zionist Israeli military.”

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