Google’s head of diversity strategy said in a 2007 blog post that Jews have an “insatiable appetite for war” and an “insensitivity to the suffering [of] others.” The comments were part of a longer meditation from Kamau Bobb, now head of diversity strategy at Google, that also slammed Israel’s military actions in Gaza and Lebanon that same year.
Bobb was at the time a research associate in technology at Georgia Tech, according to his LinkedIn. The post,titled “If I Were A Jew,” described how he believed Jewish people should view the Middle East conflict.
“If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself,” he wrote in a Nov. 30, 2007, post on his personal blog, where he was still actively publishing as recently as April 2021. “Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others.” The blog features commentary from Bobb on a wide range of issues, including racial equality, U.S. politics, and education policy.
Bobb identifies himself as a Google employee in his blog’s biography section.
Google and Bobb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The post is likely to cast a new light on Google’s diversity strategyin the wake of demands from a group of employees that the company cancel its business contracts in Israel and publicly condemn Israel’s military defense operations in Gaza. While Google has been a vocal supporter of diversity initiatives—the company released a statement about its “commitments to racial equity” in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last year—it has not commented on the recent spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Bobb’s blog post was heavily critical of the Israeli government and argued that Jews should be “tormented” by the country’s actions.
“If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented,” he wrote. “I would find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the long cycles of oppression that Jewish people have endured and the insatiable appetite for vengeful violence that Israel, my homeland, has now acquired.”
Bobb wrote that the history of Jewish suffering, particularly the Holocaust, should theoretically provide Jews with more “human compassion.”
“I don’t know how I would reconcile that identity with the behavior of fundamentalist Jewish extremists or of Israel as a nation. The details would confuse me. I wouldn’t understand those who suggest that bombing Lebanon, slaughtering Lebanese people and largely destroying Beirut in retaliation for the capture of a few soldiers is justified,” he wrote.
“I wouldn’t understand the notion of collective punishment, cutting off gas, electricity and water from residents in Gaza because they are attacking Israel who is fighting against them. It would be unconscionable to me to watch Israeli tanks donning the Star of David rumbling through Ramallah destroying buildings and breaking the glass,” he wrote.
Noting that it was the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Bobb wrote that this should lead Jews to oppose violence—but instead, he claimed, they embrace it.
“My reflections on Kristallnacht would lead me to feel that these are precisely the human sentiments that I as Jew would understand; that I ought to understand and feel compelled to help alleviate,” he wrote. “It cannot be that the sum total of a history of suffering and slaughter places such a premium on my identity that I would be willing to damn others in defense of it.”
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