Apple employees are circulating an internal letter calling on Tim Cook to put out a statement supporting the Palestinian people. Nearly 1,000 workers have signed.
The writers, who are part of the Apple Muslim Association, specifically ask the company to recognize that “millions of Palestinian people currently suffer under an illegal occupation.”
The move comes on the heels of Israel’s deadly bombing campaign in Gaza, which has killed roughly 227 people, including at least 63 children. On Thursday, the Israeli government approved a unilateral cease fire.
Members of the Apple Muslim Association — an official employee group — say they were inspired to write the note after the company failed to put out a statement condemning the violence toward Palestinians. “We are frustrated and disappointed because once more, many of those in positions of power and influence ... either choose to remain silent or release ineffectually neutral ‘both sides’ statements with regards to the Palestinian situation,’” they wrote. Historically, the company has not been quick to voice solidarity with Muslim employees or support Muslim causes, according to one current worker. (Tim Cook was, however, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban).
The letter was sent Monday. Apple has not yet responded.
Discussions about the violence internally were dominated by pro-Zionist voices, sources said, with Muslim employees and allies trying unsuccessfully to turn the talks toward the plight of Palestinians and Muslim Apple workers.
The news comes two days after a group of Jewish employees at Google put out a statement calling for the company to protect anti-Zionist speech. Google workers also asked that the company review its business contracts to ensure they do not enable Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.
On May 12th, The Verge published another internal letter from Apple employees, calling for an investigation into the hiring of Antonio García Martínez — author of the controversial book Chaos Monkeys. Shortly after publication, Martínez was fired.
Here is the text of the full letter:
An appeal from the Apple Muslim Association
We hope this messages reaches you in peace and well-being.
On behalf of the Apple Muslim Association, we write you with sadness, anger, frustration, and disappointment in our hearts.
We are sad and angry because we are once more reminded of the struggle and pain of the Palestinian people, and their decades-long existence under military occupation.
We are frustrated and disappointed because once more, many of those in positions of power and influence — who boldly stand for human rights in so many other just causes — either choose to remain silent or release ineffectually neutral “both sides” statements with regards to the Palestinian situation.
Many of us have had the privilege to grow up in free societies, where the rights of movement, safety, education and opportunity are commonplace. Yet even with all of these rights, ones that the Palestinian people are so often denied, Muslims (and also many of other beliefs) have been told not to discuss the topic of Palestine. We have been told it is “too complicated” to discuss this topic in school, and we have been told it is “too sensitive” for the workplace.
We are Muslims at Apple have enjoyed even more privilege — to work for a great company that has led the way not only on products, but on human rights issues. We in the AMA have expressed our solidarity and will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Black and Brown communities in their fight for justice and equity. We reached out to support and will continue to support our Asian communities in the face of anti-Asian hate and attacks. And we supported teammates from multiple nations as they dealt with the anxiety of the travel ban.
In all of these situations, the right thing to do was clear to us. For millions of Muslims, those communities simply ARE are own communities. And as we stand for them with full hearts, we also feel that staying silent on the plight of the Palestinian people of all faiths, and many of whom are our fellow Apple employees — is no longer something we can do. It is just not right.
Which is why we believe Apple’s public commitment to respecting internationally recognized human rights must also extend explicitly and clearly to the Palestinian people.
We humbly request:
- That Apple makes clear, internally and externally, that we believe that Palestinian lives matter.
- That Apple makes clear that, as determined by the United Nations, millions of Palestinian people currently suffer under an illegal occupation. And that this fact has been reasserted through numerous international resolutions and supported by hundreds of nations.
- That apple makes clear that the above statement do NOT in any way take away from the human rights of our Jewish brothers and sisters worldwide.
- That Apple makes clear that the above statements do NOT in any way advocate or support terrorism of any kind upon any people, worldwide.
- That Apple DOES NOT make any statement referring to the Palestinian situation as a “conflict” “clash” or similar, as those words imply a power symmetry that simply does not exist.
- That Apple DOES NOT make any statement referring to “both sides” or similar, as doing so would feel to us as the equivalent of “all lives matter” — a minimization of the disproportionately larger pain and suffering of the Palestinian people.
- That Apple commit to spending equitable time and effort to learn about and engage with the Palestinian community, as we do for the many other diverse communities which make ip our company.
We are not naive to what we are asking. We realize the challenge it presents. Many of us in the Muslim community (and our allies) have faced criticism, bullying and in some cases physical attacks for speaking out and stating internationally-recognized facts in support of Palestinian human rights.
As one of the largest and most successful companies in the world, we believe Apple’s words and actions have the power to change lives. We believe this because we have seen Apple do it many times, bringing so much positive impact to the world. Conversely, we also know that silence creates a void where lives remain unchanged.
We look forward to engaging with you to discuss these requests, and do what Apple does best — have the courage to change things in this world for the better.
Yours in peace,
The Apple Muslim Association
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge.