Koren was not the first Google – or Amazon – employee to be fired for standing up for a good cause, nor would, sadly, be the last. In this age of militarism, surveillance, unwarranted facial recognition and censorship, speaking one’s mind and daring to fight for human rights and other basic freedoms is no longer an option.
Amazon’s warehouses can be as bad, or even worse than a typical sweatshop. Last March, and after a brief denial, Amazon apologized for forcing its workers to pee in water bottles – and worse – so that their managers may fulfill their required quotas. The apology followed direct evidence provided by the investigative journalism website, The Intercept. However, the company which stands accused of numerous violations of worker rights – including its engagement in ‘union busting’ – is not expected to reverse course any time soon, especially when so much profits are at stake.
But profits generated from market monopoly, mistreatment of workers or other misconducts are different from profits generated from contributing directly to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Though human rights violations should be shunned everywhere, regardless of their contexts, Israel’s war on the Palestinian people, now with the direct help of such companies, remains one of the gravest injustices that continue to scar the consciousness of humankind. No amount of Google justification or Amazon rationalization can change the fact that they are facilitating Israeli war crimes in Palestine.
To be more precise, according to the Nation, the Google-Amazon cloud service will help Israel expand its illegal Jewish settlements by “supporting data for the Israel Land Authority (ILA), the government agency that manages and allocates state land.” These settlements, which are repeatedly condemned by the international community, are built on Palestinian land and are directly linked to the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
According to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Project Nimbus is the “most lucrative tender issued by Israel in recent years.” The Project, which has ignited a “secretive war” involving top Israeli army generals – all vying for a share in the profit – has also whetted the appetite of many other international tech companies, all wanting to be part of Israel’s technology drive, with the ultimate aim of keeping Palestinians entrapped, occupied and oppressed.
This is precisely why the Palestinian boycott movement is absolutely critical as it targets these international companies, which are migrating to Israel in search of profits. Israel, on the contrary, should be boycotted, not enabled, sanctioned and not rewarded.