In Google’s second antisemitism-related incident in less than two months, a senior executive in its cloud computing division left the company last week following the publication of a lengthy LinkedIn post describing his views on Jews, Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his manifesto, which is just over 10,000 words long, Amr Awadallah, Google Cloud’s vice president for developer relations, recalled growing up in Egypt convinced by those around him that “the Jewish people are here to kill all of us, Arabs, and build their greater state of Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates.
Emphasizing that he had “hated the Jewish people, all the Jewish people,” he described himself as having been “anti-Semitic, even though I am a Semite, as this term broadly refers to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, among others.”
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According to Awadallah, who stated that he recently learned from a home DNA test that he is 0.1 percent Ashkenazi Jewish, the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the establishment of a “United States of Jerusalem” comprised of “not just two states, but multiple states, some Israeli Jewish, some Palestinian, some hybrid, some atheist/agnostic or polyamory LGBTQ+, with local jurisdictional differences.”
In the meantime, Palestinians should refrain from violence and Diaspora Jews should "butt out,” because they “are making things worse,” he wrote, pledging to “not invest or buy products from corporations trying to benefit from this conflict,” and including a link to the website of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
In a letter to employees published in part by CNBC, Google vice president of engineering and product, Eyal Manor, who is originally from Israel, wrote that last Thursday was “Amr Awadallah’s last day at Google,” adding that working at the company had been “particularly challenging with a number of organizational changes and leadership transitions” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the news network, employees at the tech giant had expressed dissatisfaction with Awadallah for some time and were put off by his recent comments.
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Addressing Awadallah and his post, one Jewish Google employee, Daniel Golding, the company’s network infrastructure and tech site director, responded that it “made my job as one of your colleagues much harder.”
“The previous situation has made being a Jewish leader at Google tough. This has made it almost untenable. I'm unsure why you would write this under your title and company affiliation and it frustrates me. You could simply have done this as a private person,” Golding wrote, accusing Awadallah of hypocrisy.
“First, you decry the erasure of Palestinians, but you bend over backwards to erase Jews by claiming that everyone is a Jew. But Amr, everyone is not. And you don't get to decide. Second, you are instructing American Jews to butt out, but as someone with even less stake in the conflict, you have decided to sound off about it loudly. You have no right to either define who is Jewish, while claiming to be, nor to tell me to stay out while you give your opinion at very great length. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
The reference to the previous situation is apparently last month’s removal by Google of its corporate diversity chief from his position after derogatory comments that he made about Jews came to light, sparking demands by Jewish groups for his resignation.
In a 2007 post on his personal blog entitled “If I Were a Jew,” the diversity chief, Kamau Bobb, wrote that if he were Jewish, he would be concerned about his “insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.” At the time, Bobb was a research associate in technology at Georgia Tech.
“Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others. My greatest torment would be that I’ve misinterpreted the identity offered by my history and transposed spiritual and human compassion with self righteous impunity,” he asserted.
Bobb further claimed that if he “were a Jew today,” his “sensibilities would be tormented” by the difficulty of reconciling his people’s long history of oppression with Israel’s “insatiable appetite for vengeful violence.”
For his part, Awadallah expressed similar feelings in his post, condemning Zionists who wanted “to survive at the cost of their own humanity.” Just as many Arabs were raised to think that Israelis wanted to kill them, “Israelis, too, heard stories that the Palestinians want them all dead” and “proceeded to paint the other camp as ‘evil’ to justify all the violence that they plan to inflict upon them,” he wrote, calling both sides “two faces of the exact same coin!”