The Google corporate logo hangs outside Google’s German offices on August 31, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.

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During a keynote speech in New York on Monday by the managing director of on Google Israeli business, employee in the company’s cloud division protested publiclyproclaiming “I refuse to create technology that drives genocide.”

The Google Cloud engineer was subsequently fired, CNBC has learned, marking another dark moment for Google, which has been embroiled in an escalating number of political and cultural conflicts in recent years and has struggled to quell employee dissent.

There has been more domestic controversy this week, also related to the Gaza crisis.

Ahead of Thursday’s International Women’s Day summit in Silicon Valley, Google’s employee message board was hit with a flood of comments from employees about the company’s military contracts with Israel. The online forum, which was supposed to be used to inform what questions were being asked of event leaders, was shut down because of what a spokesperson described to CNBC as “divisive content that is destructive to our workplace.”

Google’s role as a technology supplier to the military in the US and abroad has been a source of consternation among the workforce since at least 2018, when employees protested a Defense Department contract called Project Maven. After that, controversy arose around him Project Nimbus$1.2 billion artificial intelligence and computing services agreement between Google, Amazon Web services and the Israeli government and military that started in 2021.

That outrage spilled over to a host of other issues, often making CEO Sundar Pichai defensive when confronted by employees at company events.

The escalation of conflict in the Middle East over the past five months has further raised the tension level at Google. In October, Hamas launched multi-pronged and deadly attacks against Israelleading to military answer it has killed at least 30,000 Palestinians, with many more injured and at risk of starvation, according to the Palestinian enclave’s Ministry of Health.

In recent weeks, more than 600 Google employees signed a letter addressed to management demanding that the company drop its sponsorship of the annual Mind the Tech conference promoting Israel’s technology industry. Monday’s event in New York included an address from Barak Regev, managing director of Google Israel.

A video of the employee protesting during the speech went viral.

“There is no cloud for apartheid,” shouted the official. Members of the crowd booed him as he was escorted from the building by security.

Regev then told the crowd: “Part of the privilege of working at a company that represents democratic values ​​is to give a platform for different opinions.”

A Google spokesperson said the employee was fired for “interfering with an official company-sponsored event” in an email to CNBC on Thursday. “This behavior is wrong, regardless of the issue, and the employee was terminated for violating our policies.” The spokesperson did not specify which policies were violated.

More Gemini questions

Google is far from alone among American companies facing increased pressure since the outbreak of the latest war between Hamas and Israel.

In October, Starbucks is suing Workers United, which has organized workers at 400 U.S. stores, over a pro-Palestinian message posted on a union social media account. Starbucks said it was trying to get the union to stop using its name and likeness after the post also drew protests from pro-Israel demonstrators. Boycotters said the company was not adequately supporting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

McDonald’s was the target of boycott efforts after a local franchisee in Israel announced in October that it was providing free meals to Israeli soldiers.

Ahead of Google’s International Women’s Day summit on Thursday, called Her Power, Her Voice, some women filled the company’s internal discussion forum Dory with questions about how the Israeli military contract and Google’s Gemini AI chatbot affect Palestinian women. According to internal correspondence reviewed by CNBC, some of the comments received hundreds of upvotes from employees.

One employee asked about Gemini’s bias. Specifically, the person wrote that when he asked Gemini, “Do women in Gaza deserve human rights?” the chatbot did not respond and directed the user to try a Google search. But when the official asked the same question to women in France, the Gemini answered “Absolutely,” followed by numerous points to support the claim.

CNBC repeated the search Thursday afternoon and found the same results. Late last month, Google paused its Gemini image generation tool after it said it offered “inaccuracies” in historical photos in response to a barrage of user complaints.

Another highly rated comment on the forum asked how the company recognizes Mai Ubeid, a young woman and former Google software engineer who was reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza with his family late last year. (Some staff and advocacy groups collected in honor of Ubeid in New York in December.)

One official asked, “Given the ongoing international war crimes against Palestinian women, how can we use the theme of ‘Her Power, Her Voice’ to amplify their daily struggles?” The comment received over 100 upvotes.

“It is essential to ask how we can truly support the idea of ​​’Her Power, Her Voice’ while ignoring the cries for help from Palestinian women who have been systematically denied their basic human rights,” said another.

As the number of comments swelled, Google prematurely closed the forum.

A Google spokesperson did not address any of the individual publications, but provided the following statement to CNBC:

“We were delighted to host an event to mark International Women’s Day. Unfortunately, prior to the event, a series of off-topic and divisive questions and comments were posted on the internal forums. Our internal Community Guidelines team routinely removes divisive content that is disruptive to our workplace and has done so here.”

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