Ariel Koren, a Jewish Google employee, announced her resignation in a letter to her coworkers in response to a retaliation against her and other employees who had spoken out in favor of Palestine.
Koren, who identified herself as a “Jewish Google worker,” wrote on Medium, “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.”
One of the two Google employees who spoke out against the company in October 2021 regarding the $1.2 billion Project Nimbus—a collaboration between Google, Amazon, and the Israeli government and military—was Koren, who claimed to have worked there for more than seven years. Google announced its involvement in Project Nimbus in May 2021, during Israeli military violence that resulted in the deaths of some Palestinians in Gaza, according to Koren.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools will be made available to the Israeli government and military through Project Nimbus, a cloud computing platform created by Google and Amazon.
“I have consistently witnessed that instead of supporting diverse employees looking to make Google a more ethical company, Google systematically silences Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim voices concerned about Google’s complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights — to the point of formally retaliating against workers and creating an environment of fear.”
For the purpose of “protect its business interests with the Israeli military and government,” Koren claimed that Google had silenced her and her coworkers.
In the letter, Koren claimed that Google is “weaponizing” its employee resource group and diversity, equity, and inclusion systems to “justify” its alleged silence and retaliation against staff members who spoke out against Google’s work with Israel.
Jewglers, a group for Jewish Google employees, is “systematically functioning as an outlet to drive forward right-wing ideologies under the guise of promoting diversity,” according to Koren’s article. The employee group, according to Koren, “silences the voices of Googlers who support Palestinian freedom” by using its “platform and access to Google’s DEI and HR leads.”
Koren previously wrote for Insider about Google asking her to move to Brazil after she spoke out against Project Nimbus in October 2021 while on disability leave.
The decision to leave Google was “difficult,” Koren wrote in her most recent letter, which was posted on Medium. She added that, unlike her Palestinian coworkers and friends, she has the “privilege” of criticizing Google “safely.”
“Our Palestinian colleagues deserve better than this; our Palestinian users deserve better than this,” Koren wrote.
A Google representative said the company forbade retaliation in the workplace and “thoroughly investigated” Koren’s claim before concluding that “there was no retaliation here” in an email statement provided to Insider.
The employee filed a claim alleging she was the victim of retaliation, but a government agency also dismissed the case, according to a Google spokesperson.
In a call with Insider, Koren said, “The most important thing about the letter are the worker testimonies that I linked to.” She added that people at Google who are impacted and engaged in Palestinian rights weren’t surprised about the testimonies.
The worker testimonies I linked to in the letter are the most crucial part of the letter, according to Koren in a phone interview with Insider. People at Google who care about and are involved in Palestinian rights, she continued, weren’t shocked by the testimonies.
Koren told Google has not gotten back to her and has not made any contact with her.
“More and more workers are invigorated to speak out,” Koren said. “There’s just going to be more voices. Google at some point is going to have to respond to our voices.”