Microsoft shut down an internal employee discussion on the Israel-Hamas war


Recently, internal messages at Microsoft revealed that the company shut down a discussion among employees regarding the Israel-Hamas war. One employee expressed their disillusionment with the company, citing what they perceived as one-sided statements from senior leaders. The employee felt that Microsoft, despite promoting Diversity and Inclusion, was showing discrimination and marginalization, seemingly unaware of the suffering of the Palestinian people. The post gained significant attention within the company, with around 600 reactions and 60 comments before Microsoft closed it to further comments.

In response, a community manager stated that the thread was being closed for comments, urging employees to practice compassion and kindness and adhere to Microsoft 365 Usage Guidelines when engaging in dialogue on Viva Engage, the company's employee engagement platform.

It is worth noting that the employee's post did not specifically mention which statements from senior leaders they perceived as biased. However, on October 10, Microsoft Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan sent an internal email on behalf of the senior leadership team (SLT), condemning the "horrific terrorist attacks in Israel" and expressing sympathy for those affected. Hogan did not mention Hamas by name but emphasized that Microsoft stood against acts of terrorism and was committed to supporting affected individuals.

Following Hogan's email, a leader of the Jews at Microsoft Employee Resource Group sent another email to employees, strongly condemning Hamas and affirming their belief in the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of ethnicity or religion. They expressed concern about creating false equivalencies in the wake of the attacks and highlighted that Hamas does not reflect the broader will of the Palestinian people. They emphasized the importance of standing against violence targeting any group.

It is important to note that Microsoft is not the only company with a significant presence in Israel dealing with the challenges of navigating this situation. For example, Nvidia, which also has around 3,000 employees in Israel, recently informed its employees that it would match their humanitarian donations to "Israel, Gaza, or both" as part of an effort to raise $10 million for relief purposes.  

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