On Thursday, Google demoted Kamau Bobb, who had previously served as the global lead for diversity strategy and research, in the wake of revelations about a 2007 blog post in which Bobb wrote that Jews have an “insatiable appetite for war and killing.” After The Washington Free Beacon broke the story, Jewish groups demanded Bobb’s removal, and Google reassigned him, condemning the anti-Semitic blog post.
“If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself,” Bobb wrote in a Nov. 30, 2007, blog post which has since been removed from his website. “Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others.”
As the Free Beacon reported, Bobb has maintained the blog at least as recently as April 2021. Bobb has used the blog to publish commentary on a wide range of issues, including race, U.S. politics, and education policy. The blog post in question condemned what Bobb characterized as an “insatiable appetite for vengeful violence” on the part of Israel.
“If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented,” he wrote. “I would find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the long cycles of oppression that Jewish people have endured and the insatiable appetite for vengeful violence that Israel, my homeland, has now acquired.”
He condemned Israel’s acts in the 2006 Lebanon War, writing, “I wouldn’t understand those who suggest that bombing Lebanon, slaughtering Lebanese people and largely destroying Beirut in retaliation for the capture of a few soldiers is justified.”
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which represents more than 1,500 Orthodox Jewish rabbis, condemned the blog post and called on Google to remove him from his diversity position. “It is clear that Mr. Bobb is utterly unqualified to serve in an executive corporate leadership role, let alone implement a ‘diversity strategy’ for Google’s diverse clientele,” CJV President Rabbi Pesach Lerner wrote in a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
“Mr. Bobb’s assertions that Jews innately possess an ‘insatiable appetite for vengeful violence,’ ‘insatiable appetite for war and killing,’ and possess ‘increasing insensitivity to the suffering others’ are viciously antisemitic—they are the direct and sinister descendants of the blood libel and myths of well poisoning during the Black Plague,” Lerner wrote. “Needless to say, the detachment from reality could also hardly be more severe: Israel is exceedingly humane, treating family members of Hamas and Fatah leaders in its hospitals.”
The CJV president noted that Bobb appeared to strategically locate his post in the “hidden blogs” section of his website, as if to protect himself from scrutiny while maintaining the anti-Semitic post.
“CJV trusts that you find Mr. Bobb’s views no more acceptable than we do,” Lerner concluded. “Further, our organization believes that you will do the right thing by immediately replacing Mr. Bobb with an individual qualified for the position he currently holds.”
Indeed, Google acted on Thursday.
“We unequivocally condemn the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offense and pain to members of our Jewish community and our LGBTQ+ community,” a Google spokesperson told PJ Media in a statement. “These writings are unquestionably hurtful. The author acknowledges this and has apologized. He will no longer be part of our diversity team going forward and will focus on his STEM work.”
Google noted that this revelation “has come at at a time where we’ve seen an alarming increase in antisemitic attacks. Antisemitism is a vile prejudice that has given rise to unfathomable acts. It has no place in society and we stand with our Jewish community in condemning it.”
“What I wrote crudely characterized the entire Jewish community,” Bobb wrote in an apology letter to a Jewish working group at Google, Fox Business reported. “What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into anti-Semitic 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.”
CJV Vice President Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld celebrated Google’s action but condemned Bobb’s apology as insufficient.
“There is no question that Google made the right decision today,” Schonfeld declared. “Promotion of hatred against any minority is contradictory to the very ideal of diversity.”
“Mr. Bobb offered a ‘sorry if I offended you’ apology that fails to take responsibility,” Schonfeld argued. “He doesn’t even back off his bigotry. What he said didn’t ‘feed into’ antisemitic tropes—rather, he articulated them precisely, dressed up as a ‘commentary’ on Israel’s actions. Israel makes tremendous efforts to avoid the civilian casualties that Hamas aims to cause, and he claimed that every Jew should feel ‘tormented,’ but now insists he didn’t mean all Jews.”
Tragically, anti-Semitism does appear to be on the rise, much of it barely concealed as condemnations of Israel’s alleged crimes. Jews have faced harassment amid and after the most recent flare-up in violence as Hamas fired rockets at Israel. A CNN contributor even praised Hitler for killing Jews (CNN rightly fired him shortly thereafter).
While Republicans and Democrats rightly condemned anti-Semitic posts from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) (before she got elected to Congress), most Democrats have not condemned Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and others for their anti-Semitic statements, creating a double standard that CJV has warned puts the Jewish community “at greater risk.”
Americans should condemn all forms of anti-Semitism, whether it emerges on the Right or on the Left. Google made the right move in this case, although the whole situation raises the question, did Google even venture to google its own diversity lead?