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July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘France’

Aliyah from France Soars 25 Percent

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Aliyah to Israel from France has soared 25 percent so far this year, from 4,000 to 5,100, according to figures supplied by French Jewish officials.

A sharp increase in the number of Jews moving to Israel from France also was recorded in 2013 following the escalation of violent anti-Semitism.

This past Januury was particularly bloody for Jews in Paris, where four Jews were murdered in an attack on a kosher deli and a Jewish cartoonist was among 12 victims in the attack on the offices of Charles Hebdo satirical magazine.

Absorption minister estimates that 9,000 Jews will have moved to Israel from France by the end of this year, compared with 7,100 in 2014.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon angered the French government by publicly calling on Jews to “come home.”

The question remains whether Jews elsewhere in the Diaspora will “come home” only when their friends and relatives are being killed.

Israel Has 80 Nuclear Warheads, Says Swiss Research Unit

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Israel has 80 nuclear warheads, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Monday in a report that estimated the world’s number of warheads fell from 22,600 to 15,850 since 2010.

Most of the drop is due to a reduction in stockpiles in Russia and the United States, it reported. However, the Institute also pointed to “extensive and expensive long-term modernization programs” in both countries.

SIPRI researcher Shannon Kile said in a statement:

Despite renewed international interest in prioritizing nuclear disarmament, the modernization programs under way in the nuclear weapon-possessing states suggests that none of them will give up their nuclear arsenals in the foreseeable future.

The 1968 Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty recognizes three other countries as legally armed with nuclear warheads — China with 260, France with 300 Britain with 215.

Israel, whose policy of “ambiguity” does not admit or deny the presence of nuclear warheads, formerly was estimated by other sources to have at least 200 nuclear warheads.

SIPRI estimates that India has 90-100 warheads and that Pakistan has 100-120 warheads.

North Korea, where the Institute said it was difficult to access “technical progress,” was estimated to have 6-8 warheads.
It added that its estimates are not as reliable for Russia and China as they are for the United States.

Orange Apology Tour Arrives in Wrong ‘Occupying’ Country

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Orange telecom CEO Stephane Richard arrived in Israel Thursday night for a two-day exercise of climbing down from a tall tree where he ate rotten fruit by saying that he would like to get rid of the company’s link with Israel’ Partner Communications because of the “occupation.”

He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres today as part of a show “to clarify Orange group commitments to Israel,” according to the French-based company.

It all was a “misunderstanding,” Richard said after winning praise from BDS but ferocious anger from even liberal political in Israel and elsewhere.

“Hypocritical” would be a better description than “misunderstanding.”

Richard lit the match in Cairo, where he referred to Partner as operating in “occupied territory,” and France’s ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, tweeted:

Contributing to settlements in an occupied territory is illegal.

Despite his “anti-occupation” remarks in Cairo, Richard later explained that he wanted to pull out of Israel because it is the only country where Orange does not run a subsidiary but instead allows an independent operation to market its trademark.

It is not clear why that should bother Orange since Partner pays approximately $4 million a year for the right to market Orange.”

Richard reassured Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely last week, “Orange does not support any form of boycott, in Israel or anywhere else in the world.”

In a way, it is too bad that Orange is retreating. If it had stood its ground, Israel would have had the opportunity to expose to the entire world the clear hypocrisy of BDS and of companies like Orange that actually operate in “occupied territory” elsewhere and, under the boycotters’ definition, are guilty of being involved in a “war crime.”

Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, affiliated with the Kohelet Policy Forum think tank wrote in The Washington Post this week:

Orange itself directly and openly operates in occupied territory. Orange provides cell phone service in Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of Azerbaijan that has been occupied by Armenia since seizing it in a bloody 1992-94 war. The U.N., along with the E.U. and U.S., considers the area occupied territory. Nonetheless, Armenian settlers have moved into the occupied territory in significant numbers, amid constant complaints from Baku and others.

He added that fighting broke out this year in the area, “killing dozens, and a full- scale war over the occupied territory is looming.”

The Orange website touts its Karabakh service as being in “NKR,” or the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an unrecognized state that is controlled by Armenia, according to Kontorovich, who also wrote:

U.N. Resolutions have specifically called for the “non-recognition” of the NKR. Orange’s Armenian website also calls the area ‘Artsakh,’ the ancient name for the region favored by Armenia nationalists. It would be as if Orange, instead of complaining about, boasted of its ‘service in Judea and Samaria.’…. Orange calls NKR a ‘country,’ despite the clear admonition of its own government and UN against recognition of what is universally regarded as Azerbaijani territory. It would be as if Orange boasted of its service in the ‘Golan Heights of Israel.’

That’s not a bad idea. Perhaps Prime Minister Netanyahu should tell Richard, “You know what? Yerright. Boycott us.

“And while you are at it, boycott Azerbaijan, Morocco, Turkey and Armenia. Then, after realizing how ignorant you are, don’t apologize. Just bury BDS and get back to work.”

France Prosecuting 15 Suspected Jihadis for Targeting Jews

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The government of France began its prosecution of 15 suspected terrorists on Monday for planning to carry out jihad (Islamic holy war) attacks against Jews in Paris. France ratcheted up its response to radical Islamic threats and rising anti-Semitism after an exceptionally bloody week of terror this January.

The radical Islamic group to which the accused operatives belong is called Forsane Alizza, or “Knights of Pride.” It was dismantled shortly after the 2012 week-long murder spree in Toulouse by Al Qaeda-linked terrorist Mohamed Merah, who attacked a Jewish day school. Merah murdered a rabbi and three children, as well as several soldiers.

The leader of the group, Mohamed Achamlane, one of those whose trial began this week, was arrested in the western city of Nantes. He and the others are charged with intent to carry out terrorist acts. However, two of the 15 were not present in the courtroom; one was a minor to be tried in juvenile court.

The group’s Internet site “called for an Islamic caliphate in France, the application of Shari’a (ed: Islamic law) and incited Muslims to unite to prepare for civil war,” said Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins at the time of their arrest. Forsane Alizza members received religious indoctrination and physical training in parks and forests around Paris, Molins charged, “in order to take part in a jihad.”

Multiple kosher groceries and the offices of French satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo were listed in a Forsane Alizza computer file named “targets.” Several were, in fact, attacked this past January in a united Al Qaeda-ISIS operation that left 20 people dead, including the three terrorists in the cell.

However, in a letter from his jail cell Achamlane denied having anything to do with the attacks, according to court documents.

French NGOs and Palestinian Authority behind BDS Pressure on Orange

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

A coalition of French NGOs, some of them partly funded by the government, last month published a 51-page document named “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to spearhead the campaign to pressure Orange to boycott Israel’s Partner Communications, which markets the Orange mobile phone service brand.

The Palestinian Authority joined the French NGOS to lobby the government and Orange to boycott Israel, the Israel-based NGO Monitor reported.

The NGOs reportedly met with Orphanage officials on May 26 and told them that its business link with Partner endangered its reputation. Orange told the BDS promoters that the agreement for Partner’s marketing the Orange brand expires in 10 years.

NGO Monitor reported:

The authors of the report asked Orange to publicly and explicitly state its decision to disengage and to denounce the human rights violations that Partner is involved in  Israeli settlements in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories-sic]. In other words, the statements made by the France-based company are a wholesale adoption of the NGOs’ BDS agenda (which is illegal in France).

Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), wrote to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.

Organizations participating in the move to pressure Orange to boycott Israel include the European-based Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

Who Profits, which now is a separate organization, began to campaign against all of Israel’s cell phone companies in 2009 for allegedly being “commercially involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights” and “exploit[ing] the Palestinian frequencies and to impose their services on the Palestinian captive market.”

The Who Profits webpage also attacks Partner for sponsoring IDF units in the Golan, Judea and Samaria in the “Adopt a Soldier” project.

The 51-page document stated:

During the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Partner was on the front lines providing material support, cellular services and entertainment to the Israeli soldiers. The company also waived service fees for soldiers carrying [sic] the assault during July-August 2014.

The French government, which owns 25 percent of Orange, granted the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire received nearly $400,000 from France in 2012. The same organization is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine,

FIDH last year libeled Israel with allegations that it deliberately targeted civilians in the war against Hamas rockets and missiles on Israeli civilians. The NGO is funded in part by the European Union and the governments of Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

NGO Monitor added, “Al Haq is funded directly by the governments of Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland, and indirectly by UK, Sweden, Germany, and the UN.”

Its report continued:

Al Haq is a leader of lawfare and BDS against Israel. A main actor in the NGO campaign to file war crimes charges against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC)….

Al Haq proposed sabotaging the Israeli court system by ‘flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.’

The Israeli Supreme Court has identified Al Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin as ‘among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.’

The Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) was funded by the French government in 2012, refers to the “Gaza extermination camp” and states, “It is inconceivable and unacceptable that the ‘Jewish-executioner’ would hide behind the ‘Jewish victim!’” Other AFPS rhetoric includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”

A French court in 2014 ruled in favor of the French distributor of Israel-based SodaStream in a lawsuit charging the pro-BDS group with stating that SodaStream products were being illegally sold in France.

Netanyahu Calls on France to Denounce BDS, ‘Miserable Actions” by Orange Group

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on his French counterpart Thursday to denounce the boycott of Israel by French Telecom CEO Stephane Richard, head of Orange Group.

“I call on the French government to renounce publicly the miserable statements and the miserable actions of a company in which it holds partial ownership,” Netanyahu said in a statement Thursday.

“I call on all of our closest allies to say in a loud and clear voice that they unconditionally oppose all types of boycott against the Jewish State,” the prime minister said.

“This theater of the absurd, in which a human rights respecting democracy is forced to defend itself from rockets and terror tunnels, and then is subject to automatic condemnations and attempts to boycott it – this theater of the absurd will not be forgiven,” he added.

Culture Minister Miri Regev added her voice to that of the prime minister, calling on Jews around the world to boycott the international telecommunications giant. She also called on French President Francois Hollande to fire Richard if the CEO does not “apologize for his anti-Semitic comments.” In France, of all places, she said, given the plethora of vicious attacks over the past six months, there can be “zero tolerance for anti-Semitic comments.”

World Jewry has strength, Regev noted, “and so do the Jews in France.” If Richard does not apologize, or is not dismissed, then the global Jewish community should “cut its ties with Orange.”

Richard vowed this week to sever ties with the Jewish State, expressing firm support for the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. He told reporters in Cairo on Wednesday that he would cut the contract between Orange Group and its Israeli counterpart, Partner Communications Ltd. “If he could.”

The government of France owns a 25 percent share in Orange Group, which is under intense pressure to sever its ties with Israel. The boycott is aimed at Orange because Partner operates in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and arts of Jerusalem restored to the capital in the 1967 Six Day War, as it does elsewhere in the Jewish State.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called on Richard to “clarify this matter as soon as possible. Israeli Ambassador to France Yossi Gal noted in a conversation with media that boycotts are illegal in France. He added that Israel views the remarks by the Orange CEO “with gravity.”

Orange CEO Richard in 2012: Israel Is a Charming Country [video]

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Orange CEO Stephane Richard, the same one who said in Egypt yesterday that he wishes he could ditch Israel’s Partner mobile firm from his company, said only four years ago how much he was “enchanted” during his first visit here.

In the video in English below, Richard says in his remarks at the President’s Conference in Jerusalem in 2012:

This really is the first time I have participated in this conference, and this is also my first visit to Israel (applause).

I must tell you I had been told that Israel is a very warm country in many sense of the word and also is a place for innovation and with a vision of the future, with a lot of dynamic energy.

I must tell you that I have discovered this reality with a lot of excitement. This is only my first visit but I really am fascinated by what I see here in this country, of course in my industry and in all the people I have met.

That was in 2012.

Read here what he said yesterday.

Click here to see and hear his speech on Israel in 2012.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/orange-ceo-richard-in-2012-israel-is-a-charming-country-video/2015/06/04/

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