Scottish Daily Mail

Tech boss ‘sorry’ as Israel comments spark boycott

- By Jessica Clark

THE chief executive of a major tech conference has apologised after his comments on Israel led investors to boycott the event.

Paddy Cosgrave, who founded Web Summit in 2009, had compared Israel’s response to Hamas terror attacks, which left thousands of people dead, to a war crime.

He said sorry after tech investors threatened to pull out of Web Summit’s November conference in Lisbon, with at least nine cancelling their places in the 24 hours after he made his comments.

However, the Irish entreprene­ur doubled down on his stance earlier in the day, saying he was ‘proud’ of what he had said and would ‘not relent’.

He had said he was shocked by Western government­s and leaders backing Israel’s interventi­on in Gaza following the terror attack by Hamas last week. He wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies.’

He said Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, which left more than 1,200 people dead, was ‘an act of monstrous evil’.

But he said while Israel had a right to defend itself, it did not ‘have a right to break internatio­nal law’. Israel declared war on Hamas following the attack and thousands of Palestinia­ns have been killed during its bombardmen­t of Gaza so far.

Cosgrave said: ‘I understand that what I said, the timing of what I said, and the way it has been presented, has caused profound hurt to many.

‘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.

‘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.’

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