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Web Summit CEO Resigns Amid Controversy Over Israel Comments

 Paddy Cosgrave Steps Down Following Backlash for Accusing Israel of 'War Crimes

Paddy Cosgrave, the CEO and co-founder of Web Summit, a renowned European technology conference, has tendered his resignation amidst a storm of controversy sparked by his public comments regarding Israel's actions in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

In a surprising turn of events, Cosgrave, an Irish entrepreneur who established Web Summit in 2009, decided to step down due to the furor generated by his statements, which accused Israel of committing "war crimes" and violating international law.

Cosgrave's comments, posted on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), expressed shock at the actions of many Western leaders and governments in response to Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza, which has resulted in the loss of over 4,400 Palestinian lives, primarily civilians, and extensive damage to the region's infrastructure. He specifically commended Ireland's government for its stance.

In a later tweet, Cosgrave also condemned Hamas's attack on Israel, which claimed the lives of approximately 1,400 Israelis, mostly civilians. He labeled it as "outrageous," "disgusting," and "an act of monstrous evil." Cosgrave maintained that while Israel has a right to self-defense, it does not have the right to breach international law.

After the controversy erupted, Cosgrave issued an apology, acknowledging that his initial comments lacked compassion and emphasizing his commitment to striving for peace. He stressed his belief that all countries, including Israel, should adhere to international law and the Geneva Conventions during times of conflict.

Despite his efforts to make amends, key sponsors and event headliners, including major tech companies like Meta, Google, and Stripe, announced their boycott of the Web Summit, showing their disagreement with Cosgrave's statements.

Web Summit has indicated that it intends to proceed with the event scheduled for November, as they search for a new CEO to replace Cosgrave. The controversy surrounding Cosgrave's resignation underscores the challenges faced by individuals and professionals who express their views on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

This development occurs against the backdrop of broader tensions, as professionals and students face repercussions for their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war. Business executives have recently pledged to blacklist Harvard students associated with groups critical of Israel, while some journalists have faced suspensions or job terminations due to their posts expressing views on the conflict.

Rights advocates argue that such corporate responses minimize the suffering in Gaza and create an environment of fear for those wishing to express support for Palestinians. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has criticized the backlash against students and the lack of meaningful sympathy expressed by some US corporate leaders toward Palestinian civilians affected by the conflict.

In response to these issues, dozens of Hollywood celebrities, including Cate Blanchett and Susan Sarandon, have urged US President Joe Biden to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, highlighting the widespread concern and engagement with the conflict's human toll.

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Web Summit CEO Resigns Amid Controversy Over Israel Comments

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