WASHINGTON, Saturday, October 23, 2021 (WAFA) - Over 40 grassroots organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace, MPower Change, and Fight for the Future launched the "No Tech For Apartheid" campaign, responding to an open letter from over 500 Amazon and Google employees published yesterday in The Guardian calling on their employers to cancel their contract with the Israeli military known as "Project Nimbus," and refuse all contracts that enable Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.
As Israeli bombs leveled entire residential buildings in Gaza this past May, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud executives put pen to paper to secure Project Nimbus: a lucrative $1.22-billion-dollar contract with the Israeli government to build cloud infrastructure for the country’s military and government ministries.
Heeding the call of the hundreds of Google and Amazon workers who have protested this contract, the No Tech For Apartheid campaign will amplify the efforts of people of conscience across the world to disrupt profiteering from apartheid and build on similar past successful campaigns targeting other tech giants such as Microsoft and Facebook. You can read more about the campaign here, and see select quotes from organizational leaders below.
"When executives at tech companies put profit over people by signing billion dollar contracts with apartheid governments, it’s our responsibility to fight back. Building a better world means none of us can be free until Palestinians are free. By putting pen to paper and signing on the dotted line, Amazon and Google executives chose to streamline apartheid and enable the surveillance, criminalization, and destruction of Palestinian lives. We say enough. That’s why we’re rising up alongside workers at both companies to demand that Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Google CEO Sundar Pichai choose to be on the right side of history instead of the side of colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and human suffering. From the U.S. to Palestine, we say no more tech for state violence. No Tech For Apartheid," said Lau Barrios, Campaign Manager, MPower Change.
"Courageous workers at Google and Amazon are calling on their employers to stop enabling the Israeli government’s oppression of Palestinian families – and we are proud to stand with them. Google and Amazon cloud services can be used by the Israeli military to suppress Palestinians through surveillance and to expand the theft of Palestinian land. Google and Amazon executives should listen to their employees, pull out of the Nimbus contract and cut all ties with the Israeli military. No tech for apartheid!" said Stefanie Fox, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace.
"Amazon and Google have been complicit in human rights violations in the U.S., and now they’re actively working to enable human rights violations by the Israeli government. Israel’s military has contracted Amazon and Google to build and fuel the technology used to oppress, occupy, and bomb Palestinians. The services Amazon and Google provide and the technology they build powers drones, surveillance, and sophisticated weaponry for the Israeli military. Make no mistake, if we don’t get Amazon and Google to cut their ties with Israel, the stage will be set for them to become the backbone of the 21st century military industrial complex. And developments made in powering Israel’s war machine will be exported to militaries and police departments across the world including America. We’re at a precipice with lives at stake. Nothing short of Amazon and Google ending the Project Nimbus contract is acceptable," said Evan Greer (she/her), Director, Fight for the Future.
"Amazon and Google are helping to sustain Israeli apartheid in its repression of the Palestinian people with a massive cloud contract that will enable increased surveillance, discrimination and displacement. Mass as well as targeted surveillance of disenfranchised Indigenous Palestinians, who are denied basic rights and recourse to justice, is a core feature of Israel’s system of repression, oppression and colonial dispossession. This repression, which is often tested on Palestinians before being exported globally, must be challenged by us all, together," said Olivia Katbi Smith, North America Coordinator, BDS Movement.
"Project Nimbus is just another example of how tech companies are not just complicit, but actively seek to profit from state violence both here and abroad. It took years of organizing and pressure from movement activists to get Amazon to stop selling racist surveillance tools like facial recognition to the police. And yet, their private police surveillance partnerships via their home surveillance product Ring just continues to grow. We’re proud to stand in solidarity with Google and Amazon workers as they bravely call on their respective companies to terminate their Project Nimbus contract with the Israeli government," said Myaisha Hayes, Campaign Strategies Director, MediaJustice.
"Google and Amazon workers are using their power to say they don’t want their labor to be used to sustain Israeli apartheid and occupation. They are using their labor power to fight back against a contract with a government guilty of apartheid and crimes against humanity. We must support and join their efforts to end this contract," said Sumaya Awad, Director of Strategy and Communications, Adalah Justice Project.