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HomeArtificial Intelligence NewsTech sector boycotts Web Summit over CEO’s Israel-Hamas war comments

Tech sector boycotts Web Summit over CEO’s Israel-Hamas war comments

Web Summit’s CEO Paddy Cosgrave has since apologised for his comments on the Israel-Hamas war.


Several tech companies, investors and founders have said they will boycott Web Summit, the massive tech conference that gathers industry leaders from across the world, after its founder’s comments on the Israel-Hamas war.

Paddy Cosgrave labelled Israel’s retaliation to the October 7 attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas as “war crimes” and compared the conflict to the Troubles in Ireland, on the social media platform X (formerly called Twitter) last week.

Social media users condemned his statements, with many founders, investors and speakers replying they would no longer attend Web Summit’s November conference in Lisbon, which hosts 70,000 people over three days.

“Saddened by your ill-informed stance. You could’ve taken a more nuanced one, condemning these atrocities and calling for restraint. That would’ve been acceptable,” said Fintech entrepreneur and former Meta executive David Marcus on X, adding, “I’ll never attend/sponsor/speak at any of your events again.”

Others also criticised Web Summit’s February conference in Qatar.

“Will refuse to work with anyone who speaks at this conference in Qatar for the rest of my career,” Keith Rabois, the Founders Fund partner and entrepreneur, said on X.

The Israeli ambassador to Portugal, Dor Shapira, said he wrote to Lisbon’s mayor that Israel will no longer participate in the conference due to Cosgrave’s “outrageous” statements and encouraged more companies to cancel their participation.

“Even during these difficult times, he is unable to set aside his extreme political views and denounce the Hamas terrorist activities against innocent people,” he also wrote on LinkedIn.

Israel is a world leader in tech and artificial intelligence (AI), which are the country’s best-known exports. The situation highlights how it is not just Israel’s tech sector that is willing to cut business ties due to the conflict.

Monique Woodard, the founding partner at US venture capital firm Cake Ventures, said she had rescinded her participation in Web Summit due to Cosgrave’s comments.

“This was a hard decision only because of the founders that it will impact as many investors from around the world decide not to attend,” Woodard wrote on X.

The Web Summit founder issued a public apology on October 17.

“To anyone who was hurt by my words, I apologise deeply. What is needed at this time is compassion, and I did not convey that,” wrote Cosgrave.

“Web Summit has a long history of partnership with Israel and its tech firms, and I am deeply regretful that those friends were hurt by any of what I said. My aim is and always has been to strive for peace.”

Euronews Next has reached out to Web Summit for comment.

Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.


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