Alphabet’s Google and Meta Platforms, along with other prominent tech companies, have announced their decision to withdraw from the upcoming Web Summit technology conference scheduled for November in Lisbon. This move comes in response to critical comments made by Paddy Cosgrave, the head of Web Summit, regarding Israel’s actions during recent conflicts.
In a series of social media posts, Cosgrave expressed disapproval of Western support for Israel in the aftermath of Hamas attacks, stating, “War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies.” These remarks triggered a wave of backlash and led to calls for a boycott of the event by Israeli investors.
Intel Corp. and Siemens AG were among the first to announce their withdrawal from the conference, joined by numerous venture capitalists from Israel, the United States, and Europe. Google, previously listed as an event partner, and Meta Platforms have since confirmed their absence as well. Stripe Inc., a long-time sponsor of Web Summit, will also no longer participate in the event.
Web Summit, a prominent technology conference, has traditionally attracted not only tech companies and investors but also notable political speakers. Portuguese Economy Minister Antonio Costa Silva is set to attend this year, and Robert Habeck, the vice chancellor of Germany, is listed as a keynote speaker for November, although Germany is still considering its participation.
As the controversy surrounding Cosgrave’s comments continues, the impact on the conference’s lineup and reputation remains uncertain, with Amazon.com Inc. executives yet to comment on their participation. The situation raises questions about the intersection of technology, politics, and social issues within the tech industry and the broader international community.