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June 2, 2021 4:20 pm
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Google Diversity Head Issues Internal Apology for 2007 Blog Post Accusing Jews of ‘Insatiable Appetite for War and Killing’

avatar by Ben Cohen

Journalists follow a news conference during the opening of the new Alphabet’s Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2019. Photo: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke.

Google’s readiness to challenge antisemitism was under scrutiny on Wednesday, amid a furor over a blog post written nearly 14 years ago by an individual who is now the head of diversity at the internet giant.

A number of media organizations, including The Algemeiner, were alerted to the post by an anonymous tip sent on Tuesday. The post — by Kamau Bobb, whose current title is “Global Lead, Diversity Strategy” at Google — carried the headline “If I Were a Jew” and was published on his personal blog.

The Algemeiner sent two emails to Bobb inquiring whether he stood by the views expressed in the Nov. 30, 2007 posting, which began with the words, “If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented.” Neither email received a response.

Bobb’s post attacked the “insatiable appetite for vengeful violence that Israel, my homeland, has now acquired” and argued that it was impossible to “reconcile” the history of Jewish persecution “with the behavior of fundamentalist Jewish extremists or of Israel as a nation.”

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He concluded the piece by saying: “If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself. Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering others. My greatest torment would be that I’ve misinterpreted the identity offered by my history and transposed spiritual and human compassion with self righteous impunity.”

Bobb did respond to concerns about the post in an email to the “Jewgler” Employee Resource Group at Google that was shared with a number of media outlets.

In it, he stated that it was his intention to respond “directly and honestly” to the “pain” his piece had caused.

“Let me first apologize,” he wrote. “What I wrote crudely characterized the entire Jewish community. What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into antisemitic tropes and prejudice. I think we can all agree, there is no easy solution to this situation, but that’s beside the point. The way I expressed my views on that conflict were hurtful.”

Bobb said that his work “at Google is focused on expanding computing pathways through our interface with educational institutions. The world is leaving us all feeling unsafe and unsettled right now. I certainly don’t want to contribute to that.”

He then added: “None of this changes or excuses the words I wrote — but I am deeply sorry for them.”

The publicizing of Bobb’s blog post resulted in the furious condemnation of his continued employment by Google on the part of several pundits and Jewish organizations.

Speaking on ABC’s The View show on Wednesday, co-host Meghan McCain said, “If you’re a Jewish employee of Google I can’t imagine how you feel right now.”

Referring to the steep rise in antisemitic violence that accompanied the latest hostilities between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, McCain remarked that “it’s very strange to me that Google — who espouses itself to be the most progressive, the most inclusive company on planet Earth or in Silicon Valley — that you have a head of diversity who, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it looks like you probably hate Jews or at the very least, have some serious issues with your antisemitic rhetoric.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), tweeted that Google needed to provide an “explanation immediately.”

“Shocking comments from Kamau Bobb Google‘s head of diversity – writing Jews have an ‘insatiable appetite for war.’ Any Google search on  antisemitism can show that’s exactly what Bobb expresses in this blog,” Greenblatt wrote.

Google was also taken to task by Jewish advocacy groups Stand With Us, which questioned whether the company had exercised “due diligence” in hiring Bobb for a diversity post, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which called on Google to “fire this antisemite.”

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