Anger over Apple scheme ‘encouraging staff’ to donate to Israel

Apple employees have called on the tech giant to stop matching donations to Israeli army linked organisations [Getty]

Employees and shareholders at Apple have published an open letter urging the tech giant to stop an alleged scheme matching employee donations to organisations that have ties to the Israeli army and illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The letter comes following a previous statement from Apple employees calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and for the company to investigate links to organisations linked to the Israeli army.

Over 140 people have signed the letter, including former employees and staff in customer relations, product design, software engineering, Apple solutions, finance, programme management, among other roles.

Like other large corporations, Apple employees can make donations to a number of non-profit organisations which their employer matches via the platform Benevity.

The letter states the staff stand in solidarity with those at Apples4ceasefire who have requested the company remove two organisations they are matching donations to, believed to be funding illegal settlements.

“We are amplifying that message and asking that Apple must promptly investigate and cease matching donations to all organisations that further illegal settlements in occupied territories and support the IDF,” the letter states.

“Such support directly contravenes international law and our organisation’s purported commitment to human rights as well as matching cause eligibility.”

Some of the organisations listed include Friends of Israel Defence Forces, HaYovel Inc, One Israel Fund, and Israel Gives.

The charities are involved in collecting donations on behalf of Israeli soldiers, contributing to expanding illegal settlements within occupied Palestinian territory, and protecting Israeli settlers.

The signatories of the letter states that any delayed or lack of response from Apple will risk undermining trust in their commitment to safety, community, justice and human rights.

The New Arab reached out to Apple but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The open letter comes at the same time as the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC24), where the tech giant announced its entryway into artificial intelligence, dubbed Apple Intelligence, as well as users having the chance to tap into ChatGPT through Siri.

Apple has been the subject of criticism in recent months from activists and human rights campaigners due to Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

In April, nearly 300 present and former staff members signed an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook with concerns that the tech giant had neglected to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza.

The workers wrote to express their “disappointment and shock at the lack of care and understanding this company has given the Palestinian community”.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed at least 37,000 Palestinians since October and wounded 84,000 others in the same time frame. The bombardment has levelled entire neighbourhoods and plunged the enclave into a deep humanitarian crisis.

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