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June 7, 2015 12:24 pm

In Latest Shift, Orange CEO Says Telecom Company in Israel ‘to Stay’

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Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Photo: Guillaume Paumier via Wikimedia Commons.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard. Photo: Guillaume Paumier via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org In the latest shift in a back-and-forth saga, the CEO of the French telecommunications giant Orange told the AFP news agency on Saturday that the company is in Israel “to stay.”

“Orange does not support any form of boycott, in Israel or anywhere else in the world. … Let me make it very clear that the Orange Group is in Israel to stay,” said CEO Stephane Richard, adding that he “sincerely regrets” the recent controversy.

On Thursday, Orange had confirmed plans to cut ties with Partner Communications Ltd., its affiliate that provides cell phone service in the Jewish state.

“This agreement [in Israel], which was signed prior to the acquisition of Orange by France Telecom in 2000, is the only long-term brand license agreement within the Orange Group,” the company had said. “In line with its brand development strategy, Orange does not wish to maintain the presence of the brand in countries in which it is not, or is no longer, an operator. In this context, and while strictly adhering to existing agreements, the Group ultimately wishes to end this brand license agreement.”

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At a news conference in Egypt last week, Richard had said that he would have the company pull out of Israel as soon as “tomorrow,” but wasn’t yet prepared to make that move. French advocacy groups had been pressuring Orange to end ties with its Israeli affiliate.

“I am ready to abandon this (business in Israel) tomorrow morning, but the point is that I want to secure the legal risk for the company,” Richard said June 3. “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.”

In Egypt, a campaign to boycott Orange claims that the company sponsors Israel Defense Forces units.

“I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt,” said Richard, who added, “We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called on the French government, which has a 25-percent stake in Orange, “to publicly renounce the unfortunate remarks and actions” of the company.

“At the same time, I call on our closest friends to say out loud that they oppose every kind of boycott against the Jewish state,” Netanyahu said last week.

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  • michelle lidor

    STEPHANE RICHARD, CEO OF ORANGE TELECOMMUNICATIONS IS AN ANTI-SEMITE , COWARD, PANDERING TO THE HATERS OF THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDEASTS. HE NEEDS TO BE FIRED, HIS CONTRACT MUST BE TERMINATED IMMIDIATLY SO AS TO CLEAR THIS COMPANY’S NAME .SHAME ON ON HIM. A HYPOCRITE, UNGRATEFUL, NASTY HUMAN BEING. THIS IS THE EXACT EXAMPLE OF HOW ANTI SEMITISM WORKS. PANDERING TO ARAB COUNTRIES, STABBING ISRAEL IN THE BACK AND THEN BACK TRACKING TO SAVE HIS OWN ASS.

  • “Orange” in? “”Orange” out? Whatever!

    The real name of the game is “humiliating” Jews, Judaism, the Jewish People and Israel. In Barack Obama’s 21st century, “dignity” and “honor” belong to Black Americans, other so-called “people of color,” and especially to Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians. But anything to do with Jews is always to be — directly or indirectly — somehow linked to suggestions of impropriety, illegitimacy or illegality. Compulsively smearing the good name of the Jewish People in its aboriginal homeland is the perpetual obsession of these 21st-century Nazis.

    Waving a reproving finger at Jews and the Jewish People is central to the political credo of Obamists and Europeans. First they moralize about Jews and then they victimize Jews. Such opprobrium is just overture to another “war against the Jews” — just as boycotts are clearly an aspect of economic warfare.

    The truth is that the Obamists and the Europeans really want to hurt the Jews, i.e. they want to kill Jews or at the very least, they want to see Jews killed.

    Jews with nukes, missiles, fighter planes and guns? Sounds great to me, because the alternative is most certainly Holocaust2. For sure, a happy outcome with such weapons is not guaranteed, but definitely better to be well armed than defenseless.

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