How Microsoft is invested in Israeli settler-colonialism

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PM Netanyahu with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (photo: GPO / Amos Ben Gershom)
Microsoft provides a bold and sometimes overlooked example of how corporations benefit from, and contribute to, Israeli militarism and violence

By Yarden Katz | Mondoweiss | Mar 15, 2021

Microsoft provides a bold and sometimes overlooked example of corporations feeding on Israel’s violence.

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PM Netanyahu with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (photo: GPO / Amos Ben Gershom)

When millions took to the streets last year to protest for Black lives, corporations saw trouble. The abolitionist call within the uprising – defund the police and invest in a better world – challenges state violence and its profiteers. So, companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, which enable state surveillance and violence, boosted their public relations. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, for example, declared “solidarity” with Black Lives Matter, and the company donated $250,000 to social justice groups (including the Minnesota Bail Fund).

Thanks to such image-building campaigns, Microsoft doesn’t get scrutinized as much as its peers. The company sponsors think tanks that bolster its progressive credentials and mask the industry’s violent and imperialist agenda. Microsoft also benefits from the aura of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation. The New York Times still turns to Gates for advice on how to fix the world’s problems, and runs chummy interviews with Microsoft President Brad Smith to get his insights on the problem of “money in politics.”

But systematically omitted from such coverage are Microsoft’s services to armies, police forces, and prisons around the world – including Microsoft’s investments in Israeli settler-colonialism.

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