Google Dismisses Engineer Protesting at Israeli Tech Event

In recent news, a Cloud engineer working for Google was dismissed after interrupting Barak Regev, head of the company’s operations in Israel, during a keynote speech at an Israeli tech conference in New York. The engineer made a public outcry, refusing to be involved in the creation of technology supportive of genocide or surveillance, as shown in a video recorded by independent reporter Caroline Haskins, that became viral on the internet.

In spite of being escorted away by security, amidst the scrutiny from attendees, he maintained his stance, citing Project Nimbus – a $1.2 billion venture between Google and Amazon to provide AI and other state-of-the-art technologies to the Israeli defense forces. Prior to this incident, several Google employees had composed an open letter urging Google to withdraw from Project Nimbus and expressing their concerns about xenophobia, discrimination and retaliation faced by Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian workers in the company.

The engineer was insistent that “Project Nimbus poses danger to the Palestinian community! I refuse to engage in creating a technology for cloud apartheid.” After the scene, the interrupted Regev addressed the attendees saying that working for a company that stands up for democracy is to respect differing opinions. His speech was later interrupted with a second protester accusing Google of supporting genocide.

The engineer’s interruption occurred during the MindTheTech conference in New York, which held the theme “Stand With Israeli Tech,” following the October 7 Hamas attacks which resulted in a slump in Israeli investments. Haskins provided an in-depth report of the event, having been ejected by security before the culmination of the event.

The disgruntled engineer told Haskins that he wanted “other Google Cloud engineers to understand that this is what engineering ought to be – showing solidarity with the communities impacted by your work.” Wishing to remain anonymous to evade professional backlash, he was subsequently identified by Google. The company’s representative reported to CNBC that his employment was terminated for “disrupting an official company-endorsed event.” The representative highlighted that his “behavior was inappropriate, irrespective of the reason,” and he was fired for breaching Google’s policies.

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