The Verge: "Google employees call for company to support Palestinians and protect anti-Zionist speech"

Jewish Diaspora in Tech releases its open letter and a FAQ

Zoe Schiffer of The Verge reported earlier this week on an open letter to Google executives, organized by Google workers group Jewish Diaspora in Tech, that calls on Google senior management to center the voices of Palestinian Google workers, reject the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism, and provide funding for Palestinians affected by military violence.

Jewish Diaspora in Tech has helpfully made a public copy of their letter available, which strengthens the effort's visibility and impact, and also invites others to sign it. Although Jewish Diaspora in Tech originated within Google, participation as a signatory isn't limited to Google workers, and the questions on the web form imply that the group particularly welcomes signatories from workers at any and all tech firms. The public letter also provides a link to a FAQ that provides some context for the group's formation, plus some discussion of the dramatic distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and how conflation of the two is often weaponized as a silencing tactic.

The group has just launched a web site as of May 19, which at the moment contains basic "who we are" content and a statement of values. From the web site:

We are a community of members of the Jewish diaspora working in the tech industry. By mobilizing our access and our resources, we seek to act in solidarity with all peoples at the forefront of the fight against white supremacist violence and the carceral state.

Below I'll include some extracts from Jewish Diaspora in Tech's FAQ, plus extracts from the article in The Verge.

- Bruce

-----------------------------------------------

Jewish Diaspora Solidarity: Letter on Violence in Al Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah, and Solidarity with Palestinians [FAQ]
docs.google.com/document/d/1QjM_xfhcMxLxPcB-NxYYQcum2laNyyKM3LMK_Rssb9g

Who are we?
We are Jews and allies who honor our Jewish anti-colonialist traditions and who hate to see dubious accusations of antisemitism used to undermine antiracist and anti-colonial movements such as the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

Why are we speaking out now?
-
Google is the world's largest search engine and any repression of freedom of expression occurring within the company is a danger not only to Googlers internally but to all people around the world. Google’s role in upholding and furthering the image of Israel as an important location for tech work that includes Israel in the distribution of Tech capital can be construed as tacit support for Israeli militarism and distracts from Israel's human-rights abuses. Only action from Google can dispel that.

- In light of the escalating violence in Palestine and Israel, members of the Jewglers community have sought concessions and statements from Google executive leadership. Individuals have made demands that Google leadership unequivocally "support the sovereign state of Israel" and that Google leadership respond to the escalating violence from a one-sided pro-Israel perspective. We agree that a response from Google leadership is necessary, but we believe any response that recognizes violence against Israelis but fails to give the same recognition to violence against Palestinians is worse than no response at all.

Why do you say anti-Zionism is not antisemitism? Can you explain?

To learn more about antisemitism, we recommend reading this primer by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.

Conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism is a political tactic used to silence critique of Israel, and harms everyone, including Jews, by reinforcing the common antisemitic trope of dual-loyalty and erasing the many anti-Zionist Jews. Blurring the distinction between antisemitism and criticism of the Israeli state serves bad actors on both sides. [...]

-----------------------------

Google employees call for company to support Palestinians and protect anti-Zionist speech
https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2021/5/18/22441236/jewish-google-employees-support-palestine-letter-anti-zionism-israel

A group of Jewish Google employees is calling on the company to increase its support of Palestinians amid Israel’s deadly bombing campaign in Gaza...

In an internal letter, Google workers ask CEO Sundar Pichai to put out a statement condemning the attacks, including “direct recognition of the harm done to Palestinians by Israeli military and gang violence.” The letter currently has 250 signatures...

While [the internal Google employee resource group] Jewglers has tried to be apolitical, two current workers say it has supported pro-Israel discussions and is not a safe space to express anti-Zionist beliefs...

“We were compelled to form our own space because of the fact that we were quite literally not allowed to express our viewpoints in [the Jewglers group],” says a product marketing manager in the group...
___________________________

Alphabetworkers is a public, low-traffic read-only list of news extracts and commentary relevant to Alphabet workers and the Google reform movement, curated by former Google employee Bruce Hahne. It receives a maximum of one email per day. All article extracts are intended to be within fair use. To sign up, go to alphabetworkers.substack.com

It's OK to forward this message in its entirety, but please preserve the how-to-sign-up information.

A FAQ for this list is available at www.alphabetworkers.net/alphabetworkers-email-list. Bruce is reachable at hahne@alphabetworkers.net