LISBON, Portugal — The organizer of the Web Summit, one of the tech sector’s leading events, announced his resignation Saturday following a backlash over his online posts following the devastating Hamas assault on Israel.
“Unfortunately, my personal comments have become a distraction from the event,” Paddy Cosgrave of Ireland explained in a brief statement sent to AFP.
“I sincerely apologize again for any hurt I have caused,” added the co-founder of the tech mega gathering created in 2009 in Dublin but held in Lisbon since 2016.
A spokesperson for the organization said: “Web Summit will appoint a new CEO as soon as possible, and Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon will go ahead as planned.”
This year’s edition from November 13 to 16, is set to bring together some 2,300 startups and more than 70,000 participants, say organizers.
Several companies, including tech giants Google and Meta, which is behind Facebook and Instagram, as well as event headliners have announced they are boycotting the gathering since Cosgrave’s remarks.
He had written on X, formerly Twitter, that he was “shocked at the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders & governments” in support of Israel.
“War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are,” he wrote on October 13.
The boycott by Meta and Google followed other exits by companies and tech figures, including Intel, Siemens and US comedian Amy Poehler and X-Files actor Gillian Anderson.
Some 2,500 Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip stormed into Israel by land, air and sea on October 7, killing some 1,400 people and seizing 200-250 hostages of all ages under the cover of massive rocket fire at Israeli towns and communities. The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — men, women, children and the elderly, with entire families executed in their homes and over 260 slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists
The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza says over 4,300 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes since the Hamas onslaught. The figures issued by the terror group cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include its own fighters and the victims of a blast at a Gaza City hospital on October 17 caused by an Islamic Jihad missile misfire that Hamas has blamed on Israel.