From the Times of Israel:
Mobile giant Orange seeking to join Israel boycott, CEO says
Stephane Richard tells conference in Cairo he would end link ‘tomorrow’ but fears penalties; Lapid slams comment as ‘hypocrisy of the highest order’
Here’s some more detail:
The chief executive officer of French mobile phone giant Orange said he would end his company’s relationship with an Israeli operator that pays to use its name “tomorrow” if he could, but that to do so would be a “huge risk” in terms of penalties.
Speaking Wednesday at a news conference in Cairo laying out the company’s plans for the years ahead in Egypt, Stephane Richard said that his company’s intention is to withdraw the Orange brand from Israel as soon as possible, but that the move would take time.
“Our intention is to withdraw from Israel. It will take time” but “for sure we will do it,” he said. “I am ready to do this tomorrow morning… but without exposing Orange to huge risks.”
The statement comes as Israeli leaders have upped their rhetoric against the pro-Palestinian Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement that seeks to isolate Israel for international investment.
It does seem a somewhat clumsy statement for a chief executive at that level. Even if they were thinking of severing relations with Israel, announcing it like that does not make sense. For example, how did he think they would magically get out of a contract that – recently renewed! – that has another ten years to run? Was it as amateurish as just making a soundbite for the local Egyptian market, in the naive belief it would not make the world news? For sure their Israeli operators will be seething at the announcement, and it won’t be surprising if there’s litigation.
The whole story, so far is here. But there is likely to be more.