By Kathryn Wolf
The moment NCCI got the word that Durham would be one of only four cities nationwide on Sept. 9 to undergo anti-Israel protests in front of Google offices, we sprang into action, mobilizing dedicated area Zionists within 24 hours of the event.
Attempts to criminalize cloud computing technology for Israel
The protests at Google were meant to pressure the company to break a $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud computing and artificial intelligence capabilities to Israel. Project Nimbus, the brainchild of Google and Amazon, is expected to be useful in many aspects of Israeli society, including traffic control, healthcare, and education.
Project Nimbus may also make it easier for Israeli security forces to recognize body language and facial expressions of people on the verge of committing violence against Jews. That might seem like something that reasonable and fair-minded people could get behind. But, as we know, some Triangle residents and college students are neither reasonable nor fair-minded, especially when Israel is involved.
Rapid response of pro-Israel supporters
About thirty anti-Israel protesters showed up in front of Google, in downtown Durham, waving signs accusing Israel of “apartheid,” yelling false accusations into a loudspeaker about the supposed crimes of the Jewish state, and shoveling baklava into their mouths.
On our side, about 10 Israel defenders counter-protested, many with signs we’d quickly made, and a few carrying placards provided by #EndJewHatred, an Israel-based nonprofit that supports grassroots Zionist efforts. Alexandra Ahdoot, leader of the Duke University pro-Israel club, Students Supporting Israel, also joined us, as did other local pro-Israel advocates.
One intrepid pro-Israel attendee, Emma Blass, whose parents were anti-Apartheid activists in South Africa, was interviewed by the Indy newspaper. Blass, holding a sign that read, “Thank You Google, for Saying NO to Jew Hate” was quoted as saying that Israel is more an “anti-racist country than any other country in that region.” Marcia Harris, another defender of Eretz Yisrael, had her photo snapped by the press, and was shown in multiple publications holding a sign, “Israel – the only Democracy in the Middle East.”
We didn’t drown out the haters; they had the loudspeaker, after all. But news media coverage proved to be more balanced than expected. We were very glad we imposed a different narrative from the predictable lies told that day.
Kol Hakavod, everyone!