Google will allow its head of diversity strategy who made antisemitic comments in an online post to continue working at the company.
The tech giant said it “unequivocally condemned” the writings by Kamau Bobb, a diversity strategy lead at Google since 2018, who published a 2007 blog post that claimed Jewish people had an “insatiable appetite for war and killing”.
A Google spokesman said: “These writings are unquestionably hurtful. The author acknowledges this and has apologised. He will no longer be part of our diversity team going forward.”
It said Mr Bobb would continue to work at Google focused on other areas.
Mr Bobb made the comments in a blog post in 2007 entitled “If I were a Jew”.
The blog, written on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, when German Nazis attacked Jewish people in the run-up to the Second World War, claimed that he would struggle to “reconcile … with the behaviour of fundamentalist Jewish extremists or of Israel as a nation”.
Mr Bobb said Jewish people should experience more “sympathy and compassion” due to the memory of the Holocaust.
He said: “I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering of 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.”
The remarks were met with condemnation by groups that campaign against antisemitism. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human rights organisation, called on Google to fire Mr Bobb.
A spokesman for the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: "Sadly, revelations such as these are becoming more unremarkable, because the Jewish community has come to realise that, among online influencers and corporate trendsetters, racism directed at Jews simply does not count."
Google declined to comment. Mr Bobb did not respond to requests for comment.
In an email shared internally with Jewish staff at Google, Mr Bobb said he was “deeply sorry” for the remarks and admitted they “fed into anti-semitic tropes”.
He said: “What I wrote crudely characterised the entire Jewish community. What was intended as a critique of particular military action fed into antisemitic tropes and prejudice … the way I expressed my views on that conflict were hurtful.”
Mr Bobb wrote the blog post in November 2007 when he was a research associate at Georgia Institute of Technology and before he was employed by Google.
In the blog, he said: “It would be unconscionable to me to watch Israeli tanks donning the Star of David rumbling through Ramallah destroying buildings and breaking the glass.
“It cannot be that the sum total of a history of suffering and slaughter places such a premium on my identity that I would be willing to damn others in defence of it.”
The comments were first reported by the political blog Washington Free Beacon.
The revelation comes as Silicon Valley companies grapple with employee activism amid violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that has left 250 people dead.
In an internal letter in May, Google staff called on Sundar Pichai, its chief executive, to issue a statement supporting Palestinian staff.
The letter, by Jewish Google staff critical of Israel, also called for Google to “reject any definition of anti-semitism that holds that criticism of Israel of Zionism is anti-semitic”.