On Tuesday, the Federal Minister of Economics wants to appear at Europe’s largest tech summit in Lisbon. But after a heated dispute over pro-Palestinian statements by the summit founder, Israeli entrepreneurs are now demanding that they not take part.
With an open letter, over 300 Israeli tech entrepreneurs have called on Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to cancel his participation in Europe’s most important tech conference next Tuesday in Portugal. The background is a heated dispute over pro-Palestinian statements by the summit founder.
“We are reaching out to you because we were deeply moved by your historic speech in which you reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defense,” said the letter, which was sent to the star is present. And further: “In view of recent developments, your participation in the ‘Web Summit’ sends a contradictory signal, especially to our thriving Israeli business community, which makes an important contribution to the German economy and industry.”
Habeck is therefore “respectfully requested” to cancel his participation in the conference, like many others: “In doing so, you would be committing yourself to the principles of fairness, respect and the humanistic and democratic values that form the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany. ” The authors of the letter continue: “Your decision to resign would send a clear message against unacceptable comments that undermine Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and would strengthen your standing in the global industry that promotes ethical business practices.”
The initiator of the letter is Mor Eini, founder and co-managing director of the “Israeli Technology and Economic Community in Germany”, a network of over 300 Israeli entrepreneurs who, according to their own description, “actively contribute to the German economy through investments, industrial production and innovation”.
Summit founder Cosgrave accused Israel of “war crimes.”
The background to the letter are allegations against the Irish founder of the “Web Summit”, Paddy Cosgrave. After the Hamas attacks on October 7th, he made several pro-Palestinian postings on the short message service X. On the day of the attacks, he published statistics that showed a significantly higher number of victims for the Palestinian side in the conflict with Israel. On October 13, he wrote about Israel’s military response to the terrorist attacks: “War crimes are war crimes, even if they are committed by allies.”
Several companies such as Siemens and Intel as well as numerous personalities then canceled their participation. After massive protests over his statements, Cosgrave qualified his statements and ultimately resigned as managing director of the “Web Summit”.
“Web Summit” in Portugal: Conference continues to promote Habeck
The summit continues to promote Habeck’s participation in the meeting next week. According to the program, the Federal Minister of Economics is scheduled to speak there on Tuesday afternoon on the topic of “Germany’s path to a progressive future”.
For Habeck, the planned trip is not a good one for another reason: he also wanted to meet several members of the government there during his visit to Portugal. But then Prime Minister António Costa announced his resignation after a corruption scandal. The planned dinner together will probably now be cancelled. However, a meeting with the Portuguese Environment Minister is still on the agenda. His ministry was searched on Tuesday at the request of the public prosecutor. It is still unclear how Economics Minister Habeck will react to the latest developments.
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