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June 5, 2015 12:27 pm

Employees at Orange Israel Drape Offices in Massive Israeli Flags After French CEO Remarks

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Employees of Orange placed an Israeli flag outside of their office building in Tel Aviv. Photo: Facebook.

Employees of Orange placed an Israeli flag outside of their office building in Tel Aviv. Photo: Facebook.

Employees of French mobile carrier Orange hung Israeli flags around their Tel Aviv headquarters on Thursday after the company confirmed it would cease doing business in Israel, French-Israeli blog Tel-Avivre reported on Friday.

The website published photos of Orange employees rallying inside their office building and waving Israeli flags as more blue and white banners hung from above. One image shows the entrance of the building masked with a goliath Israeli flag stretching from the roof to the sidewalk.

Throughout Israel, Orange’s billboards were also covered with Israeli flags and the phrase #BoycottOrange began trending on Twitter, the BBC reported.

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Israeli flags fly at Orange headquarters in Israel. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli flags fly at Orange headquarters in Israel. Photo: Facebook.

The redecoration by employees of the Orange office in Tel Aviv amounted to a forceful protest against the company’s decision to pull out of a longstanding deal with Partner Communications, its associate that provides cell phone service in Israel. Orange CEO Stephane Richard announced his endorsement of the boycott of Israel at a press conference Wednesday in Cairo, and the company confirmed the plan on Thursday. Orange denied that its decision was politically motivated.

One Orange employee named Dan, said he believes the company’s decision was a mistake. He told Tel-Avivre, “Orange is spending millions in Israel and especially in search boxes and development to improve its products. [Richard] should think twice before deciding publicly” to end business relations with its Israeli partner.

An Israeli flag at Orange headquarters in Tel Aviv. Photo: Facebook.

An Israeli flag at Orange headquarters in Tel Aviv. Photo: Facebook.

On Wednesday Richard said, “I am ready to abandon this [partnership] tomorrow morning but the point is that I want to secure the legal risk for the company.”

“I want to terminate this, once again, but I don’t want to expose Orange to a level of risk and of penalties that could be really sizable for the company,” he added.

Richard implied that Orange’s business in Israel presented challenges for its contracts in Arab countries, including Egypt. He explained, “I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt. We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded sharply to Richard and called on the French government to “publicly repudiate the miserable statement and action by a company under its partial ownership.” He also asked those who support the Jewish state to “unconditionally declare in a loud and clear voice” that they oppose any boycotts of Israel.

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  • We barter th many of diverse levels of ethos, yet Israel gets the Lambasting. What next? Makes one pray.

  • Barry

    Israel should demand that Orange give up its use of Israeli technology seeing it doesn’t want to do business with the Jews.

  • Victor Cowen

    Stephane Richard ought to be fired NOW. As a CEO of a major company he ought to have the sense to keep his big mouth shut he is not fit to be in that job.

  • tan

    I’ll be interested to see the French govt’s response…though likely they’ll duck.
    Quite outrageous..but strait forward…that’s the way it is…it’s all about money….and responsibility to shareholders…
    Wish i were a customer of Orange….just so i could become an ex-customer, or a shareholder so i could sell.

  • shloime

    it’s time for the israeli partner to drop the brand name from hu”l, and switch to a “blue-and-white tapuz”.

    and then sue the pants off stephane richard and company, for breach of contract. (and for the financial harm his defamatory comments have already caused their business. it would even be fun to see him face a french court, where truth isn’t a defence against libel.)

    we’ll see if he makes up on the arabs what he loses on the jews.

  • Joel

    Seems like orange is truly black

  • Janice Kenner

    I oppose any boycott of Israel. I’m getting rid of my orange clothing and will no longer eat oranges.

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