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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Orange’

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.

Orange Staying in Israel

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Orange CEO Stephane Richard told AFP on Saturday that Orange would not be leaving Israel and the contractual branding relationship with Partner was not going to be cancelled. The contract with Orange is until 2025.

Richard told AFP that he “sincerely regrets” the controversy that resulted from his statements.

Related article: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-calls-on-france-to-denounce-bds-miserable-actions-by-orange-group/2015/06/04/

Orange Telecom’s Troubled Egyptian History

Friday, June 5th, 2015

As CEO of French multinational telecommunications corporation Orange S.A. Stephane Richard was telling journalists in Cairo on Wednesday how happy he would be to cut ties with Israel, few outside Cairo were aware of the painful legacy of the mobile providers in Egypt and Orange in particular.

Back in 2011, when the Egyptian government under President Hosni Mubarak was cracking down on protesters in the big cities, suddenly the most effective means of communication activists had been using to coordinate action across the country—most prominently Facebook and Twitter—were unplugged.

As the Wall Street Journal reported four years ago, attempts to connect to websites belonging to Egyptian ISPs—EgyptWeb, TeData and Purenet—failed.

France Telecom, Orange’s original owner, confirmed that Egyptian authorities had taken “measures to block mobile phone services,” and apologized to the customers of Mobinil, the Egyptian Company for Mobile Services, of which Orange S.A. owns 98.92%.

Considering that Mobinil had an estimated 34 million Egyptian subscribers, it is clear why the name Orange was interchangeable with the idea of mobile phone service in Egypt, and why the betrayal, just when its services were needed the most, has left such deep-seated anger among Egyptians.

According to a Vodafone statement, mobile operators in Egypt were told “to suspend services in parts of Egypt. Under Egyptian legislation, the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”

The mobile companies capitulated without even an attempt to stand up to the embattled dictator Mubarak.

Many in Egypt noted that, in 2009, when Iranian youth and intellectuals had taken to the streets, it took forever to get online, due to government trickery, but you eventually got your message through using Google’s DNS and VPNs. In Cairo, it was a complete shutdown.

Renesys, an Internet intelligence company, reported “the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table… an action unprecedented in Internet history.”

As luck would have it, eventually the Egyptian authorities ordered Orange’s arch-rival Vodafone to switch its network back on, so the secret service could send out unsolicited text messages.

At that point, Vodafone rediscovered its backbone, and announced that the Egyptian government had forced it to send pro-Hosni Mubarak text messages to their customers. Vodafone said it protested to the authorities that it finds these messages is unacceptable.

Regardless of whether or not that series of events actually caused the shift in that country’s telecom business, the fact is that, as of 2011, Vodafone has become the leader in Egypt’s telecom market, with the largest customer base and revenue share.

Stephane Richard is probably not the completely rabid anti-Semite some have made him up to be. As he himself admitted, for him, the move to unload Israeli customers is just business.

If Orange wants to reinvigorate its Egyptian business, it must first mend the bridges it burned four years ago.

And what better way to become the darling of Egyptian consumers once again than by dumping on Israel and capitalizing on Egyptian anti-Semitism.

Minister Regev Urges Orange Telecom to Sack Anti-Israel CEO

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev is calling on the board of the international telecommunications giant Orange Group to sack the firm’s CEO, Stephane Richard. Regev issued her appeal Thursday, following the appearance of a statement on the Orange website in France explaining its intent to cut ties with Israel as soon as legally feasible.

This time, there was no mention of “occupation.” The statement on the company’s website announced its wish to terminate its brand presence in “countries where the Group is not or is no longer an operator.”

“The Orange Group is a telecoms operator and as such its primary concern is to defend and promote the value of its brand in markets in which it is present,” the statement began. “The Group does not engage in any kind of political debate under any circumstance.”

No mention of Richard’s blatant anti-Israel remarks that were so much in evidence in Cairo — but a clear legal strategy to extricate itself from its contract with its Israeli carrier, Partner Communications.

Orange noted that in Israel it “has a brand licensing agreement with the operator, Partner Communications” but that the Orange Group itself “is not a shareholder in Partner and thus has no influence on the strategy or the operational development” of the operator. Orange was acquired by France Telecom in 2000.

Regev called on French President Francois Hollande to back up the vows he made to Jews in France back in January when he promised “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism. The minister also urged Jewish customers around the world who currently use the Orange telecommunications service to change their carriers immediately.

Within Israel, however, Education Minister Naftali Bennett — who previously served as Economy and Trade Minister — called on Israelis who use the Partner Communications carrier not to cancel their own service, saying that Partner should not be punished for the anti-Israel actions by Orange.

The company chief had announced in Cairo Wednesday he would “gladly” sever ties with Israel but claimed the firm’s contract precluded such a move. One day later, however, he appeared to take that step anyway.

In the wake of Richard’s anti-Israel remarks, meanwhile, Israeli carrier Partner Communications is preparing to request compensation of its annual estimated NIS 15 million payment to Orange for the use of its brand name.

The betrayal by the international corporation was felt keenly by Israeli workers as well. Dozens of Partner employees were demonstrating at the firm’s headquarters Wednesday and Thursday following publication of Richard’s blunt support for the BDS (boycott, divest & sanctions movement) boycott of Israel. The workers brought with them a giant Israeli flag, with which they covered the company’s signature Orange logo.

Bennett: Don’t Punish Partner for Orange

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, who used to be the Minister of Economy and Trade, told Israelis they should not cancel their cellphone accounts with Orange in Israel, in response to the anti-Semitic statements by Orange’s French CEO.

Bennett pointed out that Partner, the local representative of Orange, is a purely Israeli company, with 3500 Israeli employees. Any actions by Israelis against Partner would hurt an Israeli company and Israeli workers.

Partner is worried about the backlash by angry Israeli citizens, following the remarks by Orange CEO Stephane Richard.

Bennett suggested that Partner sue Orange for attempted damages.

Bennett also said that people who attack Israel must face consequences for their actions.

4G Mobile Network Coming to Israel

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Communications Ministry has issued a tender for the operation of fourth-generation – 4G – LTE mobile phone networks in Israel.

A 4G network, which has been operational in the United States for several years, allows users to work with the Internet at speeds three to five times the current rate.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told journalists in a statement, “Fourth generation services will make possible advanced services and applications at high speeds. The new network will propel Israel forward while delivering innovative services.”

The tender issued by the ministry notes “The bands will be awarded to the highest bids with a minimal bid of NIS10 million for each of the 8 available 5MHZ frequency bands. New and small operators may receive up to 50% discount, 10% discount for each 1% addition to their market share, obtained over the next 5 years.”

Five companies currently operate 3G networks — which are much slower — but 4G networks involve wider frequencies and they are expensive to develop. Israel cannot support five of those, so companies will have to share.

Israel’s three largest mobile firms – Cellcom Israel, Partner Communications (Orange) and Bezeq (Pelephone) – all offer 3G and have been fighting a price war over the past two years. But there are two new competitors in the market – Golan Telecom and Hot Mobile – which both own their own infrastructure and are rapidly moving up to take a share of the Israeli customer base.

Two months ago, Partner signed a deal to share a network with Hot, which is owned by Altice, a French cable group. Cellcom, meanwhile, announced a similar arrangement with Golan. Both are already developing 4G networks, which will cost approximately $100 million to create.

At present, the country with the fastest Internet speed is New Zealand, which runs a network with 25.8 megabits per second. According to the global Net Index, Israel is currently ranked 63rd in mobile speed, at only 5.6 megabits per second.

Wearing Orange? Don’t Visit Sharon Lying in State

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Guards at the Knesset made sure that no one wearing anything with the color orange in it was allowed onto the Knesset grounds for Sharon’s lying in state.

Orange was the color of the protest against Sharon’s Disengagement plan from Gush Katif.

Guards checked visitors carefully for orange bracelets, shirts, banners, and other orange colored clothing or paraphernalia.

One person, inadvertently wearing an orange shirt unrelated to the Gush Katif protest, was turned away from the Knesset grounds and not allowed to pay his respects to the former Prime Minister.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/wearing-orange-dont-visit-sharon-lying-in-state/2014/01/13/

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