More than 600 Google workers and counting have signed a letter addressed to Google marketing leadership demanding that it drop its sponsorship of Mind the Tech, an annual conference promoting the Israeli tech industry taking place in New York this week. “Please withdraw from Mind the Tech, issue an apology, and stand with Googlers and customers who are despairing over the overwhelming loss of life in Gaza; we need Google to do better,” reads the letter, which was seen by WIRED.

The two-day event began on Monday with a series of industry-focused lectures, and it concludes Tuesday with an evening gala. It aims to highlight the resilience of the Israeli tech industry, especially in the face of Israel’s economic downturn following the attacks by Hamas militants on October 7. Some 1,200 Israelis died in the attacks; Israel’s military campaign on Gaza in response has killed 30,000 Palestinians as of March 4.

On Monday, remarks at the conference by Barak Regev, managing director of Google Israel, were disrupted by a Google Cloud software engineer shouting that his work should not be used in service of surveillance and genocide. He was joined in interrupting the event by an organizer with the anti-Zionist Israeli groups Shoresh and Jewish Voices for Peace.

“I don’t see any way forward to continue my engineering work without doing this,” the Google engineer later told Hell Gate, speaking anonymously. “I consider this a part of my engineering work, and I hope other engineers within Cloud see me do this, and I hope that it galvanizes them.” Both activists were quickly forced out of the event. So was Hell Gate’s correspondent, who also authored this article; the event’s organizers did not give an explanation for why they removed a member of the press.

Google was a “gold” sponsor of Mind the Tech, according to the conference website, although it is unclear what financial commitment that might have entailed. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Other speakers on Monday included New York mayor Eric Adams, Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion, and former NSA director Michael Rogers.

Zelda Montes, a software engineer at YouTube who attended a protest Monday outside the conference, told WIRED that worker solidarity is especially important against the context of “Israeli AI technologies used in the surveillance and genocide of the Palestinian people.”

“While our ‘leadership’ continues to fail us, I hope that we as Google workers feel more empowered to turn to one another and ask ourselves what more we can do to collectively stand against tech for oppression,” Montes said.

The internal letter against Google’s participation in Mind the Tech was first shared inside Google on February 29. It was cowritten by several organizers for No Tech for Apartheid, a campaign group calling for an end to Project Nimbus—a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract of Israel’s government with Google and Amazon announced in 2021—and any other objectionable contracts.

No Tech for Apartheid alleges that the terms of the Nimbus contract could allow cloud technologies from the US companies, including artificial intelligence tools, to be used for military purposes. Documents obtained by The Intercept indicate that Project Nimbus tools can be used for surveillance, an integral aspect of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.


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