Apple Store Employees Say Coworkers Were Disciplined for Supporting Palestinians


Nearly 300 current and former Apple employees have published an open letter alleging that several retail and corporate employees of the company have been disciplined or “wrongfully terminated” for expressing support for Palestinian people through pins, bracelets, or keffiyeh.

The group, which calls itself Apples4Ceasefire, is planning a protest outside Apple’s retail store in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Saturday. In a podcast published last week with media outlet Palestine in America, the group alleges a Palestinian retail employee at that location was wrongly fired for wearing clothing and accessories showing support for Palestinian people. The podcast episode also elaborates on allegations made in the letter, making detailed claims about multiple Apple employees experiencing retaliation from managers.

The group’s letter, also released last week, also calls on Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives to acknowledge the many deaths in Gaza from Israel’s assault on the territory in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7. Cook sent an email to Apple employees two days after Hamas attacked expressing sympathy for those who died or were bereaved, the letter says. It adds that “after over 150 days of violence against innocent Palestinian lives, there has yet to be a message sent expressing the same kind of concern for them.”

Apple did not respond for comment in time for publication.

Some 1,200 people died in the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas, Israel’s government has estimated. The UN reported last week that more than 32,000 Palestinians have died since the conflict began, citing data from Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

Tariq Ra’ouf, a technical expert at an Apple retail store in Seattle who helped organize the Apples4Ceasefire campaign, says that the vast majority of people who signed the letter are retail workers at Apple, with a few dozen signatories in corporate roles like product management or software development. Some 55 signatories identified themselves as former employees. The signatories hail from cities around the world, including Chicago; St. Petersburg; London; and Apple’s home base of Cupertino, California.

“Apple says that they want to make the world a better place,” Ra’ouf says. “This is a rare opportunity, a historic one, to actually do the work to make the world a better place.”

Corporate Dissent

Apple is not the only tech giant where workers have demanded executives show more recognition or support for Palestinians since the latest Israel-Hamas conflict began.

On March 4, more than 600 Google employees signed a petition demanding that the company withdraw its sponsorship funding for an Israeli tech conference in New York, with dozens of employees protesting outside the event. A Google Cloud software engineer interrupted a talk at the conference by Google’s managing director for Israel, calling for an end to Google’s work with the Israeli government under Project Nimbus.

Employees have noted that Nimbus tools are capable of mass surveillance, but neither Google nor the Israeli government has publicly stated that Nimbus is used for that purpose. The employee was forcibly removed from the event and then fired by Google the same week.





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