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Peter Thiel was trapped inside a student debating hall by pro-Palestine protesters accusing him of genocide

Mikhaila Friel   

Peter Thiel was trapped inside a student debating hall by pro-Palestine protesters accusing him of genocide
  • Peter Thiel faced backlash from pro-Palestine protesters during an event in Cambridge, UK.
  • Thiel is the cofounder of Palantir, a data-mining firm that works with the Israel Defense Forces.

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel was trapped inside a student debating hall on Wednesday by pro-Palestine protesters who accused him of genocide.

Thiel, 56, is a cofounder of data-mining company Palantir, which supplies the Israel Defense Forces with technology for "war-related missions."

Thiel was giving a speech at the Cambridge Union Society in the UK (which is independent of the University of Cambridge) when pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted his monologue. They were later photographed being escorted out of the event.

Videos circulating on X show protesters gathered outside the building. One video, posted by Mail on Sunday journalist Sabrina Miller, shows a large group of protesters waving Palestinian flags and chanting.

"Peter Thiel trapped inside Cambridge Union. Protesters not letting him leave," Miller wrote.

Thiel's vehicles were also blocked from leaving the Cambridge Union for more than an hour by hundreds of protesters, according to Varsity, Cambridge University's independent student newspaper.

The Times reported that Thiel taunted the group of activists by smiling and waving at them while taking pictures. The report said he had to arrive several hours early to avoid confrontations.

"Since October 7th, 14,000 children in Palestine have been murdered, and Palantir is complicit in that. Your actions are complicit in the genocide of thousands of people," one protester from the Youth Demand campaign group could be heard saying in a video posted to X.

"Your technology is ensuring that hospitals are being bombed," they added.

"It's embarrassing and appalling that anyone could even want to attend a talk by a man profiting millions off the backs of dead people," one protester said in a press release issued by Youth Demand.

"Palestinian lives are not disposable and I cannot stand for profit over human lives," they added.

"Since our founding in 1815, the Cambridge Union Society's foremost principle is that of freedom of speech and the open exchange of ideas," a spokesperson for the Cambridge Union Society told Business Insider.

"In this spirit, we both support the right to peaceful protest alongside the right for our speakers and members to voice their opinion. Last night's event demonstrated this long-standing tradition of the society."

Representatives for Youth Demand campaign group and Palantir did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The exact details of Palantir's partnership with Israel aren't clear. In 2023, the company introduced its AI platform for militaries to analyze targets and create battle plans, Bloomberg said.

"Both parties have mutually agreed to harness Palantir's advanced technology in support of war-related missions," the company's executive vice president, Josh Harris, told Bloomberg.

"This strategic partnership aims to significantly aid the Israeli Ministry of Defense in addressing the current situation in Israel."

Earlier this week, Palantir posted revenue of $634 million in the quarter ending March 31, a 21% increase from the same time last year.

Alex Karp, Palantir's CEO, previously lashed out at the wave of pro-Palestine student protests occurring at universities. He doubled down on his comment on an earnings call this week.

"The greatest institutions of our time disappear and turn into discriminatory dysfunction," he said.