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War on Gaza: Apple employee 'wrongfully terminated' for pro-Palestine views, say colleagues

Employees sign open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, calling on him to show 'Palestinian lives matter'
People walk past an Apple store in Shanghai on 5 October 2021.
People walk past an Apple store in Shanghai on 5 October 2021 (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Nearly 300 current and former Apple employees signed an open letter accusing the company of "wrongfully terminating" or disciplining several workers for expressing support for Palestine by wearing pro-Palestinian articles of clothing.

The letter, which has received 299 signatories, says that employees have been told by their superiors that anyone expressing support for Palestine in the form of "kaffiyehs, pins, bracelets, or clothing" has been told they are "breaking business conduct" and creating a "harmful environment".

"Team members have even been wrongfully terminated for this small show of solidarity, while our leadership ignores the pain and suffering our co-workers and their families are facing in Gaza," said the letter, reported by Wired Magazine on Tuesday.

The letter goes on to call on Apple CEO Tim Cook to acknowledge the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza.

Israeli forces have killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, the majority being women and children, since it began its war on Gaza in response to the 7 October Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that killed around 1,200 people and saw over 200 hostages taken back to Gaza.

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"We humbly ask that Mr. Cook and the rest of the executive team end their silence on this crucial subject, and make it clear that Palestinian lives matter," the letter said.

With thousands dead "each day we are silent we become more complicit in this horrific genocide, and the further we stay mum on this issue the further it is made clear that Apple does not support Palestinian human rights".

Middle East Eye reached out to Apple for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The group behind the letter, Apples4Ceasefire, is also planning a protest outside Apple's retail location in Chicago on Saturday, according to Wired.

The protest is not the first time that American workers have faced consequences for showing support for Palestine in the wake of Israel's war on Gaza.

MEE reported in December that a restaurant in Philadephia fired several employees for speaking out on Palestine.

Google fired an employee who staged a protest against the chief of Google Israel during a company-sponsored Israeli tech event.

War on Gaza: Google fires employee after pro-Palestine protest at Israeli tech conference
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The employee specifically hit out at Project Nimbus, a $1.2bn agreement for Google and Amazon to supply Israel and its military with cloud and computing services.

The controversial Project Nimbus was met internally at Google with anger from many employees, who say that the partnership was helping to advance Israel's discrimination of Palestinians, which many rights groups have labelled as apartheid.

Google's partnership with the Israeli military has come under renewed scrutiny amid Israel's war in Gaza.

In December, Google staff members and the group, No Tech for Apartheid, held a vigil in London for software engineer Mai Ubeid, who was a graduate of the Google-funded coding boot camp, Gaza Sky Geeks, and was in 2020 part of the Google for Startups accelerator programme.

Ubeid was killed on 31 October along with her entire family in an air strike during Israel's war on Gaza

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