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Jewish Google employee resigns after ‘retaliation’ for protesting Israeli contract

Ariel Koren complains of ‘a hostile environment, and illegal actions by the company’ in response to protest over deal to build cloud-based data centers on behalf of Israel

A Google building at the company's campus in Mountain View, California, on Sept. 24, 2019. (AP/Jeff Chiu)
A Google building at the company's campus in Mountain View, California, on Sept. 24, 2019. (AP/Jeff Chiu)

JTA — A Jewish Google employee who led activism against a major contract with Israel’s government has resigned, citing what she said was retaliation.

“Due to retaliation, a hostile environment, and illegal actions by the company, I cannot continue to work at Google and have no choice but to leave the company at the end of this week,” Ariel Koren said in a statement posted Tuesday to 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.”

Koren and another Jewish Google employee last year launched an effort to pressure Google to cancel a joint contract with Amazon to build cloud-based data centers on behalf of the Israeli government.

Project Nimbus, costing $1.2 billion, will transfer Israel’s data into six cloud-based storage centers over the next several years. Koren said the project would enable surveillance of Palestinians.

In March, Koren said Google told her she would be transferred to Sao Paolo, Brazil, which Koren alleged was retaliation. Google denied retaliation and the National Labor Relations Board found no wrongdoing after an investigation, according to The New York Times.

In her statement, Koren also singled out “Jewglers,” a forum for Jewish Google employees, for not accommodating Jews who hold anti-Zionist views.

Koren helped found the activist group Respond Crisis Translation, which provides translation services for asylum seekers.

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