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Seattle tech conference faces backlash for linking Israel to ‘genocide’

One of the presentations at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Seattle accused Israel of genocide, and several Israeli and international firms of complicity.

A general view of the Seattle Space Needle and downtown skyline with Mount Rainier in the background, June 8, 2019. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images.
A general view of the Seattle Space Needle and downtown skyline with Mount Rainier in the background, June 8, 2019. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images.

An annual tech conference in Seattle has found itself at the center of a heated controversy after a prominent researcher condemned one of the presentations for accusing Israel of genocide.

The Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference (CVPR) calls itself “the premier annual computer vision event” and includes “several co-located workshops and short courses” in addition to the main conference. Held in Seattle this year, it started on Monday and continues through Friday.

Yitzhak Ben-Shabat, a well-known Israeli figure in the field of computer vision, noticed a slide in one of the presentations during the Workshop on Responsible Data, had the headline “How has CPR research contributed to genocide in Palestine.”

The slide also listed Israeli and international companies, including Elbit Systems, Palantir and Lockheed Martin, as supposedly being embroiled in this “genocide.”

“I was deeply offended by a slide in a recent talk at #CVPR2024 that falsely accused my country of genocide. Such baseless political statements have no place in our scientific community. Let’s keep our focus on advancing science and leave politics at the door. @CVPR,” he tweeted. 

The thread prompted a major backlash online, with pro-Israel users attacking the conference for allowing the slide to appear. There was no information on who presented it or whether it was cleared with the event organizers, who have yet to respond to the allegations.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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