Home Explainer End Project Nimbus With Israel: Google Staff Protest, Sit in For Hours

End Project Nimbus With Israel: Google Staff Protest, Sit in For Hours

Dozens of Google employees and pro-Palestinian advocates rallied in front of the software company’s Sunnyvale building, protesting against a contract between Google and the Israeli government concerning a technology the company calls Project Nimbus.

“We demand Google drop Project Nimbus, the $1.2 billion contract between them and Israel. We demand that Google protect their Arab, Muslim and Palestinian worker voices from harassment, retaliation, suppression,” Emaan Haseem, a Google software engineer from Seattle, said. “And we demand that Google recognise Project Nimbus as a workplace safety and health concern.”

Social media footage showed police entering the office of the CEO of Google’s Cloud Division to clear employees who had staged a sit-in protest for more than eight hours. It happened at the Sunnyvale office in California, close to the company’s main headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Project Nimbus stems from an Israeli government deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google for a more than $1 billion project to provide cloud services for the country’s public sector and military.

The four phases of the project include acquisition and construction of cloud infrastructure, formulating government policy for migrating to the cloud, integration and migration, and control and optimization of cloud activity.

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Nimbus is a multi-year project intended to provide a comprehensive solution for the provision of cloud services to the government, the defence system and other groups in the economy, the Israeli Finance Ministry said in 2021.

“What’s concerning to me immediately about the contract between Google and Israel is the lack of transparency,” Haseem said. “Not only is the lack of transparency concerning but just the context of which the contract is being taken place in, we know that the genocide in Gaza is the first AI-powered genocide so we find that tech is at the forefront of streamlining this genocide against Palestinians.”

Similar protests were also held at Google offices in Seattle and New York.

With inputs from Reuters