Photo Credit: NGO Monitor
BDS campaigners in France protest Orange company's business link with Israeli-based Partner Communications.

The French-based Orange telecom company has agreed to pay Israeli-based Partner Communications $45 million for a study of damage caused by the fiasco two months ago caused by Orange CEO’s comments that he would like to get rid of Partner.

The agreement also allows Orange to terminate the Brand Licensing Agreement during a one-year period if Partner does not cut off ties first in the 12 months beforehand. If Partner exercises its right to end the connection, it will cost the company an additional $56 million.

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The funding for the study also covers expenses Partner incurred to deal with the fallout from Orange CEO Stephane Richard’s remarks in Cairo, where he said:

Believe me I would cancel the contract tomorrow if I could… 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.

Previous protests by the BDS movement have tried to pressure Orange to cut its ties with Israel. There always is the possibility that a company is faking reasons its pull out of Israel or Judea and Samaria. BDS charges Partner with the sin of erecting approximately 100 antennas on “Palestinian land.”

Everyone has jumped to conclusions that Richard was succumbing to BDS, and even the new agreement has been met with suspicions that Orange simply is trying to diplomatically cooperate with BDS under the cover of deal that seems to be “strictly business.”

It delights the media, left-wing and right-wing alike, to celebrate or bemoan a BDS victory, but sometimes it is poppycock.

Richard, despite his remarks that obviously pander to Arabs, has claimed there is a legitimate business reason for wanting to end the arrangement with Partner. Israel is the only country in the world where a local company uses the Orange brand but is not part of the French conglomerate. Partner reportedly simply pays Orange approximately $4 million for the right use the Orange name. It is a tiny sum for the French conglomerate.

The new agreement and funding by Orange gives the Partner to examine how much damage, if any, was caused by the blow-up following Richard’s remarks and what would be involved in trying to come up with a brand name instead of Orange.

Richard’s comments provoked so much excitement that Richard even flew into Israel, met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed his love for Israel and said he opposed boycotts.

The fact is that Orange is invested in Israel and operates a technological hothouse.

In addition, Partner told The JewishPress.com that when the Israel firm started its own innovations laboratory two years ago, Orange asked to participate. it was rejected because the Partner investment recruited people to participate but did not take any outside funding. However, the Orange’s interest spurred it to start up its own independent research lab.

Despite the plain wording of today’s press release in the new Partner-Orange arrangement, several media outlets mis-reported that “Orange, Partner Communications sign deal to end brand agreement” (Indian Times”) and that “Orange to end license deal with Partners Comms.” (CBS Marketwatch).

Unless the whole arrangement is an expensive ruse to bury BDS, which is quite fanciful, BDS can crawl back into its hole.

This is not the first time a company has moved operations due to business considerations but allegedly because of BDS.

SodaStream pulled out of Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, this year after completion of its new and more modern factory in the Negev, five minutes from the new extension of the high-speed Highway 6 (Kvish) highway that makes it a lot closer to Ben Gurion Airport.

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