Paddy Cosgrave, the founder and chief executive of Web Summit, Europe’s largest annual technology conference, resigned on Saturday in an attempt to quell controversy over his comments on the Israel-Hamas war.
His departure comes after several major companies pulled out of this year’s event, which will be held in Lisbon on November 13-16.
Cosgrave, an Irish businessman who co-founded the Internet Summit in 2009, has faced significant backlash for criticizing Western support for Israel’s military response to an October 7 attack by the militant group Hamas that killed 1,400 people.
Cosgrave, “War crimes are war crimes, even when committed by allies.” wrote On social media on October 13, the UN warned that Israel’s airstrikes and blockade of the Gaza Strip could lead to mass starvation of the 2.3 million people living there. Cosgrave then followed up with a message condemning the Hamas attack.
Amid growing criticism from leading tech figures and investors, Cosgrave has posted a Report Apologize and clarify his position on the Web Summit blog on Tuesday.
“I unreservedly condemn the evil, despicable and brutal October 7 attack by Hamas. I also call for the unconditional release of all hostages,” he wrote. “I unequivocally support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself … I believe that in defending itself, Israel must not commit war crimes — that is, to international law and the Geneva Conventions.”
An apology is not enough to change the list of key sponsors and leaders They announced that they were going to boycott Web Summit event including tech heavyweights Meta, Google, Intel, Siemens and Amazon.
“Unfortunately, my personal comments have become a distraction from the event and our team, our sponsors, our startups and the people in attendance,” Cosgrave said in a statement. CNN. “I apologize again for any hurt I may have caused.”