Jun. 12, 2015
Orange Telecom and Occupied Territories – Eugene Kontorovich (Washington Post)
The CEO of Orange telecom, Stephane Richard, just arrived in Israel for a two-day visit, apologizing for his apparent suggestion that his company would boycott the Jewish state due to its local affiliate’s activities in “occupied territory.”
Now researchers at the Kohelet Policy Forum have discovered that Orange provides cell phone service in Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia in a bloody 1992-94 war. Orange even supports fundraising for Armenian settlements in Karabakh.
Unlike its Israel service, which is operated by a local company that merely licenses the trademark, Orange Armenia is directly run by the French-based company, and headed by a French executive, Francis Gelibter.
There is absolutely no law, rule, or general practice against doing business in occupied territories.
Europe wants Israel to believe that the friction between them is due to “the occupation.” But the participation of European companies in “occupation” elsewhere (Western Sahara, Northern Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh) undermines the force of their argument.
The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law.
(Click on the title to see the whole article…Ed.)
European-Funded NGOs Behind the Orange Boycott Israel Campaign (NGO Monitor)
In May, a coalition of French NGOs, along with the Palestinian NGO Al Haq, published “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
The NGOs met with Orange, which “recognizes that having business relations with [the Israeli firm] Partner poses risks to the company’s reputation.”
Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, wrote to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.
NGOs involved in the campaign against Orange and Partner include Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS).
These groups are funded by Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, France, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, and Denmark.