Kamau Bobb, Google’s now-removed global lead for diversity strategy and research, came under fire this week when his 2007 blog post referring to Jews as having an “insatiable appetite for war” resurfaced. After his remarks went public, he privately apologized to Google employees and was reassigned.
In the now-deleted blog post, which was first reported by Washington Free Beacon and is visible on internet archive Wayback Machine, Bobb wrote, “If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself.”
“If I were a Jew today, my sensibilities would be tormented. 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,” Bobb added.
Pro-Jewish group Stop Antisemitism highlighted Bobb’s quote from his blog post, saying, “How is this obscene, antisemitic bigot still employed there?”
Anti-Semite-watchdog group the Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted on Tuesday, “Google must fire this #antisemite.”
Michael Dickson, Executive Director of pro-Israel group Stand With Us, also tweeted, saying Bobb was “not fit” for the role of diversity chief.
Google released a statement on Wednesday, reported by Business Insider, which said Bobb was removed from his role as head of diversity, but not fired from the company. He was instead transferred to an unidentified STEM role.
“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’s statement said.
Google added that it “condemned 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.”
According to an internal memo a Google employee shared with Washington Free Beacon, Bobb apologized late Tuesday to Google’s Jewish employees – collectively referred to internally as Jewglers – for his remark, which he said he made to criticize Israel for its military actions.
“Let me first apologize. 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 wrote.
“[T]he world is leaving us all feeling unsafe and unsettled right now. i certainly don’t want to contribute to that,” he said. “[N]one of this changes or excuses the words i wrote – but i am deeply sorry for them.”
He referred to his blog as “a place for my personal reflection on a number of complex issues spanning years” and was still publishing posts on it as recently as April 2021.