Apple workers are speaking up in solidarity with Palestine

Nearly 400 Apple workers have signed an open letter asking for Apple executives to “end their silence” on Palestinian suffering amid the war on Gaza. The group also alleged that employees who have expressed solidarity with Palestine have been “actioned against” or “wrongfully terminated.”

The letter, addressed to CEO Tim Cook and members of Apple leadership, was published by a group called Apples 4 Ceasefire, which includes hundreds of Apple employees, past and present. They stated that Cook had addressed “the loss of innocent Israeli lives” following the Oct. 7 attacks, but that Apple leadership has failed to acknowledge the violence against Palestinians in the days and months following. The daily death rate of Palestinian civilians in Gaza is higher than any other major conflict in the twenty-first century, with over 33,000 known casualties including 13,000 children.

Apples 4 Ceasefire began their movement last week on social media and with the publication of the letter. The signatories range from retail workers to technical experts to operations specialists, working at Apple branches and offices globally: current and former employees from America, Scotland, Spain, Canada, and the UK have signed.


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In the letter, the group criticised Apple for “the lack of care and understanding this company has given the Palestinian community, not only abroad suffering in Gaza, but also towards our own team members and anyone who supports them within our stores and offices.”

The group also claimed that Apple employees had been disciplined for showing solidarity with Palestine through accessories. “In fact, anyone who has dared to express support of the Palestinian people in the form of kaffiyehs, pins, bracelets, or clothing, has been actioned against under the guise of ‘breaking business conduct,’ and creating a ‘harmful environment,'” the letter reads.

Mashable has reached out to Apple and Apples 4 Ceasefire for comment.

In a podcast with media group Palestine in America published last week, Apples 4 Ceasefire detailed discrimination allegedly faced by a Chicago-based Apple employee for wearing a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian headdress. The employee, Madly Laaibah Espinoza, reportedly asked an Apple Store team leader prior to wearing her keffiyeh, and was told she could do so as long as it didn’t cover any Apple logo. The group says Espinoza was later fired.

The campaigners behind Apples 4 Ceasefire are planning a protest in Chicago this Saturday.

One of the participating campaigners, journalist Tariq Ra’ouf, took to social media to speak about the movement, saying, “There has not been any sort of messaging from the company about the innocent loss of civilian lives in Gaza.”

“People listen to this company. They follow this company’s lead. This company is known for innovating and changing entire industries. They’re constantly talking about how they believe in social justice and racial equity. And so, the math doesn’t math for me,” they continued.

Major tech companies, including Apple, have faced similar criticism for their messaging — or lack thereof — since the escalation of the war in the Middle East, leading to employees speaking out publicly.

Back in November, Apple reportedly suspended internal Slack channels for Jewish and Muslim employees, following messages pertaining to Israel and the war on Gaza. Microsoft was also reported to have shut down a discussion about the war after an employee posted that the company “is oblivious to the overwhelming and disproportionate suffering of the Palestinian people”. Google has faced internal conflict about the company’s ties to Israel, with over 600 workers signing an open letter against Google’s sponsorship of an annual conference promoting the Israeli tech industry in New York. A Google Cloud engineer was fired after staging a pro-Palestine protest during said event, speaking against Project Nimbus: a contentious contract between Google, Amazon, and the Israeli government and military which provides Israel with cloud computing services. Google employees have long said the project will heighten “systematic discrimination” against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Big Tech companies have been condemned by consumers for reportedly suppressing information during the war on Gaza. Meta was accused, in numerous instances, of shadowbanning pro-Palestine posts on Instagram and censoring such content across its platforms.

This isn’t the first time Apple employees have called for the company to publicly support Palestinians. In 2021, workers belonging to the Apple employee group, Apple Muslim Association, circulated an open letter also addressed to Tim Cook, asking the company to recognize that “millions of Palestinian people currently suffer under an illegal occupation.” The plea came after Israel escalated an attack on Gaza in May of that year, bombing the Strip and killing hundreds.

In their open letter, three years later, Apples 4 Ceasefire asked for Apple leadership to “end their silence” on the war and “make it clear that Palestinian lives matter.”

“Year after year, we are voted one of the world’s most admired companies. We lead industries, create life-changing technologies, and have moved the world forward in more ways than one,” write the campaigners. “It is time for Apple to take center stage and redefine expectations of how the world views the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, and stand firm in our belief of racial equity and justice.”