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Google fires 28 employees involved in protest against Israeli cloud contract| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Google on Wednesday fired 28 workers after dozens of employees participated in sit-ins at the company's offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, to protest the company's cloud computing contract with the Israeli government.

A day earlier, nine employees were arrested on charges of breaking and entering at the two offices.

“Physically impeding other employees' work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies and completely unacceptable behavior,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

Years before the layoffs, tensions had been simmering between the company's management and some employee activists over Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion deal between Google and Amazon to provide the Israeli government with cloud services, such as artificial intelligence.

That discord had deepened since the war in Gaza began in October. Google recently fired an employee who disrupted an Israeli technology conference in New York. And the company even plans to make changes to a corporate forum because the employees were arguing about the conflict.

Google said it would continue to investigate Tuesday's protests. In Sunnyvale, employees refused to leave the office of Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.

Google employees affiliated with the group that organized the sit-ins, called No Tech For Apartheid, said in a statement that the firings were “a blatant act of retaliation.”

“Google workers have the right to peacefully protest the terms and conditions of our work,” the employees said. They added that some of the employees Google fired had not participated in the sit-ins.

The Nimbus contract, announced in 2021, was aimed at supplying cloud software to several Israeli government ministries. Since the start of the contract, some Google employees have expressed concern that the company was helping the Israeli military.

A Google spokeswoman said Nimbus “is not targeted at military, classified, or highly sensitive workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

In 2018, Google workers successfully pressured the company to end an agreement with the US Department of Defense. Called Project Maven, it would have helped the military. analyze drone videos.

Employees who have participated in Nimbus activism said in their statement that they would continue to protest “until the company abandons Project Nimbus.”

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