Israeli Startup Boycotts Tech Event After Boss Defends Palestine Tech – 19 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The founder of the European technology conference ‘Web Summit’, Paddy Cosgrave, has come under fire from technology industry leaders, both from the United States (US) and Israel.

This followed Cosgrave’s statement on his personal X (formerly Twitter) account, which criticized Western support for Israel, in the conflict that started with the sudden attack by the Hamas militant group on October 7 2023.

“I am shocked by the rhetoric and actions of many Western leaders and governments, with the exception of the Irish government which is once again standing up for the right thing,” said Paddy on his X account.

“War crimes are war crimes. When committed by allies, they must still be called what they are,” he said.

The statement immediately sparked a reaction. Several technology industry figures such as Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan and Sequoia Capital investor Ravi Gupta said they would not appear at the conference which will be held next November in Lisbon, Portugal.

Several technology industry figures from Israel also immediately contacted Web Summit management to cancel their participation in the event. Their names have been quietly removed from the list on the Web Summit website, according to inside sources.

Within 24 hours, Israeli speakers declared their withdrawal from the Web Summit. Initially, there were 5 Israeli speakers who would attend. However, now there are none left.

Seeing the impact of his statement, Cosgrave apologized earlier this week. He admitted that the statement sparked controversy because it was published at the wrong time, amidst high sensitivity regarding the geopolitical issues that occurred.

“To all parties who were hurt by my statement, I apologize as big as possible,” he said, four days after uploading his initial statement, quoted from Business Insider, Wednesday (18/10/2023).

For some tech industry leaders, Cosgrave’s apology does not change their position on canceling next month’s Web Summit.

One of them is the CEO and co-founder of rechargeable battery firm Addionics, Moshiel Biton. He was supposed to be one of the speakers, but refused to attend.

“Paddy’s apology is one thing. However, we stand by the decision to boycott Web Summit,” he said.

“I’m pleased to see the tech industry’s top brass taking a clear stand against terrorism and against public figures who behaved like they were forgiving in this inhumane act,” said partner at Angular Ventures, Gil Dibner, before Cosgrave released his apology.

A Web Summit spokesperson said Cosgrave’s apology was a personal statement. He said Cosgrave fully understood the impact of the controversial statement.

“We have a team of 300 people, who are working hard to present an international class event for all participants in Lisbon this year,” he said.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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Originally posted 2023-10-18 14:00:00.