A Google employee who became a prominent critic of the tech giant’s $1 billion artificial intelligence and surveillance contract with the Israeli military has resigned.
Ariel Koren, a marketing manager, is leaving the company this week, citing the creation of a hostile work environment as a result of her social activism.
“I am leaving @Google this week due to retaliation & hostility against workers who speak out,” tweeted Koren. “Google moved my role overseas immediately after I opposed its $1B AI/surveillance contracts with Israel. And this is far from an isolated instance.”
The controversy began when Koren objected to Google’s $1.2 billion collaboration with Amazon and the Israeli military on Project Nimbus.
She spent more than a year organizing her protest to persuade Google to back out of the deal, which included circulating petitions, lobbying executives, and speaking to news outlets.
However, instead of listening to her concerns, Google surprised her in November 2021 with an ultimatum: either agree to relocate from San Francisco, California, to Sao Paulo, Brazil, or lose her job.
Koren claimed that the mandated relocation had no business justification and filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
According to multiple media reports, both Google and the NLRB investigated her complaint and found no wrongdoing.
At least 15 other Palestinian employees and allies have shared their stories about the company’s “institutionalized bias.”
“It has become impossible to express any dissatisfaction with the war waged on Palestinians without being summoned to an HR meeting with the threat of retaliation,” one Palestinian employee said.
Koren claimed in an online post published Tuesday on the publishing platform Medium that her outspoken views and social activism prompted Google to silence her by relocating her job overseas.
“Google is aggressively pursuing military contracts and silencing and retaliating against me and many others,” she wrote under the headline: Google’s Complicity in Israeli Apartheid: How Google Weaponizes Diversity to Silence Palestinians and Palestinian Human Rights Supporters.