Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Phone Firm Insists Israel Pullout Not Political

France opposes boycotts against Israel but will not intervene if the Orange communications giant drops its Israeli affiliate, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

Fabius’ statement on Friday was in reaction to the announcement the previous day by Orange S.A., which is partly controlled by the French state, that it would terminate its presence in Israel and its association with Partner Communications.

“Although it is for the president of the Orange group to determine the commercial strategy of the company, France is firmly opposed to a boycott of Israel,” Fabius said in the statement.

Orange’s announcement cited commercial considerations but came one day after Orange’s CEO, Stephane Richard, said in Cairo that his company would end its Israeli presence if it were not contractually bound to Partner. He added: “I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt,” Richard said. “We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries.”

In an interview for Ynet, Richard on Friday said he did not mean to say that Orange was pulling out of Israel for political reasons. “We are friends of Israel, it has nothing do with Israel, we love Israel. My words were misunderstood, I spoke of a purely business issue,” he was quoted as sating.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and its president, Reuven Rivlin, both urged the French government to condemn Orange’s pullout, which, despite the firm’s claims, Netanyahu called “despicable” and politically motivated.

Yonathan Arif, the vice president of the CRIF, the umbrella body for French Jewish groups, that a pullout would be a victory fir the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel.

“Regardless of the real reason for Orange’s pullout, if it goes through it would give a first public victory of its caliber to BDS,” he said.

Citing France’s ownership of 25 percent of Orange’s shares, Arif called on the French government to reverse Orange’s decision.

Dive In




      NY-12 Candidate Forum


      Aug 10, 2022

      7 pm ET · 

      Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

    Republish This Story

    Please read before republishing

    We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

    To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

    We don't support Internet Explorer

    Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.