Statements like this matter.
Those avoiding taking positions on events like Hamas’ horrific massacre and kidnapping of civilians in Israel on Oct. 7, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing atrocities it is inflicting on civilians, will not end up on the right side of history and humanity -- just like so many who acted similarly in the 1930s.
It is one thing for companies and their leaders to stay out of politics, avoid taking positions on a country's leaders, and have a policy of not getting involved in elections. However, it’s not all right to timidly hide behind a false cloak of neutrality.
Too many companies today see themselves as “extra-national” and above issues of humanity, worrying only about not taking positions that might offend anyone, rather than standing up and doing the right thing.
The technology industry in Israel and Ukraine needs our help. Technologists in these countries are among the best in the world. They are pushing the boundaries of the newest areas of development in computing, from AI to quantum computers.
But so many of the amazing technology companies in Israel and Ukraine have seen 10% or more of their employees called up to serve in the armed forces, many on the front lines. Many will be wounded. Many will die.
This is the price of freedom and democracy that they are fighting for all of us. Their nations and governments are democratic. Their people are free. The aggressors in their conflicts support neither democratic governments nor free populations.
We need to all stand with Israel and Ukraine, and we need to stand with their technology companies. Here’s how:
Keep tech business flowing. In spite of the wars, tech companies in Ukraine and Israel are open for business. They are not slowing down. They are doing more with less under enormous pressure. Let’s do everything we can to keep our business flowing to those companies. Their families, economies and nations need it. Everyone in these countries is trying to maintain a sense of “normalcy” in their everyday lives, since the ability to live and raise families in peace and freedom is what they are fighting for.
Show up. I have visited Ukraine twice in the past five months to meet with entrepreneurs, technology companies, investors, students and government officials. Not only did I learn a lot, but I was blown away by the impact that it had on people I met for an American to visit them in a war zone. This is the time for business leaders to visit partner companies in these countries, to put on conferences to learn about special wartime needs, to show up and let them know you care.
Have patience. These wars aren’t going to end quickly. We need our support to be strong, constant and patient. This is going to take time, much more than a few news cycles. We are already seeing the effects of news cycle fatigue on support for Ukraine. We need to be aware of it and work to reverse it.
Call out the growing anti-semitism around us. I am not Jewish, but I can clearly see the rise in anti-semitism all around us recently. This is not all right. We know where this leads. We all must call it out and help stop it, both at the individual and company leadership level. We must do this now.
Don’t be neutral. Reread the first four paragraphs.