Intel and Siemens AG have withdrawn from the Web Summit technology conference in Europe following comments made by Paddy Cosgrave, the event organizer, who criticized Western nations for their support of Israel in the wake of Hamas attacks, reports Bloomberg. Various noteworthy venture capitalists and tech executives have also chosen not to attend, making a significant impact on the event.
Intel confirmed its decision to withdraw without giving a detailed explanation. Intel has extensive operations in Israel on both the manufacturing and design sides of its business. This move underscores the political sensitivities that global corporations often have to navigate in their external engagements and partnerships.
Siemens AG, a German multinational, was a major sponsor slated to play a substantial role in the summit, which is still scheduled to take place next month in Lisbon. However, the company reviewed the ongoing situation and chose to discontinue its partnership and participation in this year's event, indicating the significance of the controversy stirred by Cosgrave's remarks.
The fallout from Cosgrave's comments has not been limited to corporate participants. Influential individuals in the tech and venture capital sectors, such as Garry Tan from Y Combinator and Ravi Gupta from Sequoia Capital, have rescinded their plans to attend the summit. Additionally, multiple tech executives from Israel have also decided to forego participation this year, furthering the summit's loss of key contributors and attendees.
In response to the backlash, Paddy Cosgrave issued an apology, expressing regret for the hurt his comments caused. He admitted that the timing and presentation of his statements had caused significant distress, extending his apologies to those who felt offended or hurt by his words. Despite Cosgrave's efforts to mend the situation, the loss of significant sponsors and attendees poses a challenge to the success and impact of the summit.
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Cosgrave drew criticism for a post on social media platform X on Friday relating to Israel's deadly air strikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Palestinian militant group Hamas' mass killings in Israel on Oct. 7.
"I’m shocked at the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders & governments, with the exception in particular of Ireland’s government, who for once are doing the right thing," Cosgrave wrote in the post, apparently referring to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's response that Israel was engaging in collective punishment.
"War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are," wrote Cosgrave, who was born in Ireland.
Cosgrove, who on Sunday condemned Hamas' Oct. 7 assault, said in a statement on Tuesday: "I understand that what I said, the timing of what I said, and the way it has been presented has caused upset to many. To anyone who was hurt by my words I apologise deeply."
Those are some lukewarm comments, but what can you expect from Intel and a German company during these trying times.
Since it appears that many of you (posts now deleted) just can't resist going straight to politics, even after being warned multiple times in multiple threads, this one is now closed.Reply