Google’s diversity lead removed over antisemitic views

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Google’s head of diversity has been removed from his post after an antisemitic blog post by him from 2007 re-emerged this week.

In the post, about the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, Kamau Bobb stated that Jewish people had “an insatiable appetite for war and killing” and an “insensitivity” to suffering.

The post has now been deleted.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Google told the BBC that Bobb would “no longer be part of our diversity team going forward”, adding: “We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offence and pain to members of our Jewish community.” Google said that his focus from now on would be on his Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] work.

Bobb has apologised to staff for the blog contents and, according to the New York Post, emailed a Jewish staff group at Google to apologise, writing: “What I wrote crudely characterised the entire Jewish community. What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into anti-Semitic tropes and prejudice.”

“I think we can all agree, there is no easy solution to this situation. But that’s beside the point,” he added. “The way I expressed my views on that conflict were hurtful.”

He has not spoken publicly about the blog post and his removal from his role.

In the 2007 post titled If I were a Jew, Bobb, who joined Google in 2018, described how he believed Jewish people should feel about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Times of Israel reports.

“If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defence of myself,” he wrote.

“Self-defence is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others.”

When the post resurfaced, campaigners were quick to call for Bobb’s resignation.

Michael Dickson, head of the pro-Israel organisation Stand With Us, tweeted that the blog made “revolting, and anti-Semitic, comparisons between Nazi actions and that of the world’s only Jewish country”.

The US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center also called for Bobb to be sacked.

Public comments pointed to Google’s failure to research Bobb for inflammatory views before his appointment. “If only there was some sort of online search engine Google could have used to do a background check,” one Twitter user wrote.

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