Contrary to earlier reports that the international telecommunications firm Orange SA would be terminating its relationship with Israel’s Partner communications, which pays for the right to use its name in that country, Orange CEO Stephane Richard declared today that the company is in Israel to stay.
Richard told AFP, “Orange does not support any form of boycott, in Israel or anywhere else in the world.”
“Our decision on the use of the brand is motivated — as it is all over the world — solely by our brand strategy, ” he added. “Let me make it very clear that the Orange Group is in Israel to stay.”
So much for Orange’s statement on Thursday which read, “In line with its brand policy, Orange does not want to keep its brand presence in countries where it is not an operator. Within this framework, and while strictly respecting existing accords, Orange would like to put an end to this brand licencing.”
Just by sheer coincidence, Israel is the only country where Orange has such a franchisee deal with a local company which it does not control.
Maybe the company blinked because of the Israeli Prime Minister’s harsh reaction to its initial decision to pull out of his country.
Netanyahu said, “I call on the French government to distance itself publicly from the miserable statement and the miserable action of a company that is partially owned by the government of France.”
“Simultaneously, I call on our friends to say in a clear and loud voice that they object to any kind of boycott against the Jewish state.”