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Orange CEO flies to Jerusalem to apologize personally to Netanyahu: Israel is ‘fantastic’

Israel/Palestine
on 32 Comments

Israel is “fantastic,” or at least that is what Stephane Richard, the CEO of the French telecoms, told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning in a second apology for his having stated last week in Egypt that his company wanted to pull out of Israel “tomorrow.”

In Richard’s first attempt to make amends he released a statement from France. Then the French ambassador in Israel issued an apology. The New York Times reported the diplomat was rebuffed, Netanyahu wanted a more forceful show from Richard that he unequivocally had retracted his remarks about boycotting Israel.

And so Richard, after being invited by the Israeli government for an apology-trip, boarded a plane, flew to Israel, and repented in-person:

“Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your invitation. It’s an honor to meet with you this morning, and it give me also an opportunity to clear up the confusion that was created after those statements. I regret deeply this controversy and I want to make totally clear that Orange as a company has never supported and will never support any kind of boycott against Israel. We are doing business, we are doing communication, we are here to connect people, certainly not to participate in any kind of boycott. Israel is a fantastic place to be in the digital industry and of course our will is to strengthen and to keep on investing here.”

Netanyahu also had words for Richard:

“It’s no secret that the remarks you made last week were widely seen as an attack on Israel and so your visit here is an opportunity to set the record straight. Israel is the one country in the Middle East that guarantees full civic rights. It’s the one county in the Middle East where everyone is protected under the law equally. We seek a genuine and secure peace with our Palestinian neighbors, but that can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions. It will not be achieved through boycotts and through threats of boycotts.”

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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32 Responses

  1. just
    just
    June 12, 2015, 2:12 pm

    Poor donkey.

    • ramzijaber
      ramzijaber
      June 12, 2015, 2:31 pm

      +1 just.

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra
      June 13, 2015, 8:34 am

      Greetings just,
      Wha’ happened to the original complaint of Orange against Israel?
      Was it a false flag from de get go? The CEO flys to Israel prostrating himself before King BB in Mea Culpa! Now King BB will extract more rev. from them.
      ziusudra

  2. ramzijaber
    ramzijaber
    June 12, 2015, 2:35 pm

    I ask yet again: where do these zionists get this power? How? Why? Why the fear? Is it blackmail with personal or professional information gathered illegally by zionist intelligence agents??

    I cannot find the answer. No one can it seems.

    • just
      just
      June 12, 2015, 2:42 pm

      I certainly don’t know why any human would pledge fealty to evil, Ramzi.

      Much less to apologize for speaking the truth. I think it’s completely opposed to those Commandments~ at least the ones that I was raised with.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 14, 2015, 3:57 pm

      Why the fear? I cannot find the answer. No one can it seems.

      LOL! Mondoweiss does a great job of covering individual stories, but it can “miss seeing the forest for the trees” sometimes and putting the pieces of a story together.

      There is a team from the ICC Prosecutor’s office scheduled to arrive in Palestine in less than 25 days. See “International Criminal Court planning to send delegation to examine complaints against Israel” http://www.humanrightsvoices.org/site/articles/?a=8380

      There is a well grounded fear that ordinary citizens there and the victims can call for the investigation and prosecution of billionaires like Hiam Saban, who participate in the plunder and pillage of Palestine through participation in organizations like the Partner Co. See for example the French online petition calling on Orange to terminate its contract with Partner Co. http://www.petitions24.net/palestine_france_telecom_doit_rompre_son_accord_avec_partner

      According to the petition, Partner is an Israeli telephony company directly participating in settlement activities in the West Bank and the Golan Heights. It has 176 antennas and communications equipment located on land illegally confiscated by the Israeli army and settlers. The ICC, like the Courts in the EU and USA, do not recognize the legality of titles to property acquired as the spoils of war or military occupation.

      Sabin and others provide the IDF and the illegal settlers with communications vital to the facilitation of the settlement enterprise and use their Israeli government-franchised monopolies to prevent Palestinians from entering their markets on an equal, competitive footing. The threat to withhold a Palestinian cellphone license was employed by the Israeli government in its attempts to get the PA to withdraw its declarations accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC. See “Israel demands PA drop war crimes suit [sic] at The Hague” http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-demands-pa-drop-war-crimes-suit-at-the-hague-1.7134

      So Saban’s involvement as a co-sponsor of Sheldon Adelson’s Anti-Boycott donor conference and his angry statements about possible legal reprisals against the CEO of Orange have to be understood in that context and in light of very official warnings from the French government putting its own citizens on formal notice that involvement with firms doing business in the illegal settlements can result in civil and criminal liabilities in France. See “France warns citizens against doing business in settlements: Foreign ministry declares economic activity in the territories a ‘legal risk’; http://www.timesofisrael.com/france-warns-citizens-over-doing-business-in-settlements/

      Like many other jurisdictions in the EU, under the French criminal code corporations and other “legal persons” can be found guilty of crimes, just like a “natural” person. For a discussion of the various EU criminal codes, see “Corporate Liability in Europe” link to cliffordchance.com

      One of the many modes of individual liability recognized by the ICC and other Courts is control over the immediate actor exerted through an organization. The victims can also seek compensation from companies, like Orange, that have profited from the proceeds of a criminal enterprise.

      There has been quite an uproar in recent years over the use of globalization treaties and transnational corporations to shield individuals responsible for criminal business practices, including arm sales and the plunder of public and private property in regions undergoing armed conflicts. In the case of plunder or pillage through a corporation the core elements of the crime have been understood, at least since 1945, with sufficient clarity to permit the lawful trial, conviction, and punishment of individuals in cases such as the so-called I.G. Farben and Krupp trials after WWII. http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Law-Reports_Vol-10.pdf

      At the ICC, the Office of the Prosecutor is formally committed to encourage and support national prosecutions of foreign corporate representatives involved in armed conflicts, through its establishment of a mutual network of national law enforcement agencies for that very purpose (LEN). See “Addressing the Economic Dimensions of Mass Atrocities: International Criminal Law’s Business or Blind Spot?” http://justiceinconflict.org/2015/06/08/addressing-the-economic-dimensions-of-mass-atrocities-international-criminal-laws-business-or-blind-spot/#more-5936 and the ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law article on “Pillage by Civilians” https://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_cou_us_rule52_sectionb

      The United Nations formally took up the subject after a 2007 “Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises” was published. http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/HRC/4/35/Add.4&Lang=E

      There was a French judge who chaired the UN HRC Fact Finding Mission report on the impact of illegal settlements in Palestine. The Mission took particular note of the many transnational corporations and other businesses operating or profiting from entities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that facilitate the illegal settlements. The Mission concluded that they can be held responsible in other countries under existing civil and criminal statutes and that the Israeli settlements symbolize the acute lack of justice experienced by the Palestinian people. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx See also the subsequent “Statement on the implications of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” by the UN Working Group on Transnational Businesses: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/OPTStatement6June2014.pdf

      It might even be illegal under those circumstances for Mr Sabin to hold any such plundered public or private property under color of Israeli municipal law and an Israeli-government telephone license. See 18 U.S. Code § 957 – Possession of property in aid of foreign government link to law.cornell.edu and the penal sanctions for any grave breaches of the Geneva and Hague Conventions in 18 U.S. Code § 2441 – War crimes like pillage Article 28 of Hague VI (1907) and Articles 33 and 147 of the GC IV (1949) link to law.cornell.edu
      Any financial transaction which represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity under those statutes would also amount to “an offense with respect to which the United States would be obligated by a multilateral treaty, either to extradite the alleged offender or to submit the case for prosecution”, if the offender were found within the territory of the United States. See “specified unlawful activity” in 18 U.S. Code § 1956 – Laundering of monetary instruments link to law.cornell.edu and 18 U.S. Code § 1957 – Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity link to law.cornell.edu and the definition of “racketeering activity” in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 96 “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations” RICO, § 1961 – Definitions link to law.cornell.edu

      Here is an article on the use of criminal and civil remedies available under the RICO statutes and the IRS tax codes as “Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes” based upon the author’s testimony to the US Congress as a member of the Department of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law. http://justsecurity.org/13403/road-map-ii-laws-apply-prosecution-citizen-war-crimes-the-case-gotabaya-rajapaksa/

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 14, 2015, 4:35 pm

        Sorry about the dynamic link here is a permanent one to “Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises” http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/HRC/4/35/Add.4&Lang=E

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        June 16, 2015, 9:42 am

        @Hostage

        “..who participate in the plunder and pillage of Palestine..”

        Is the EU pillaging the resources of Western Sahara?

        http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-836_en.htm

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        June 16, 2015, 9:58 am

        Are you involved in the Anti-Plundering of the Western Sahara movement, Jack?
        Why not, dude?
        What are you…some kind of an anti-saharite?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 16, 2015, 10:22 am

        @Hostage

        “..who participate in the plunder and pillage of Palestine..”

        Is the EU pillaging the resources of Western Sahara?

        I see that you are still repeating Eugene Kontorovich’s old hasbara talking points as if two wrongs make a right. All that illustrates is that he is a very crappy lawyer, since the EU treaty is justiciable too, and it’s legality has (and still is) being challenged.

        Yes they are violating the permanent sovereignty of the people of Western Sahara over their natural resources and my friend Lorenzo Kamel wrote about that very subject in a two part article at Opino Juris in January of 2014. He compared the situations in Cyprus, Western Sahara, and Palestine. Note that I was one of the commentors back then, and that I’m miles ahead of you on the subject:
        * http://opiniojuris.org/2014/01/09/eu-adopting-double-standards-approach-toward-israel-palestinian-territories-part-1/
        * http://opiniojuris.org/2014/01/09/eu-adopting-double-standards-approach-toward-israel-palestinian-territories-part-2/

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 16, 2015, 10:38 am

        Are you involved in the Anti-Plundering of the Western Sahara movement, Jack? Why not, dude?

        There are groups in the EU mounting legal challenges to stop the plunder of the natural resources of the Western Sahara, e.g. http://www.smalgangen.org/

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        June 16, 2015, 10:50 am

        Understood, and admirable.

        I like throwing the brainless process they use, back at them.

        – Why are you only picking on my screeching violin? Why aren’t you complaining about out of tune pianos on the other side of the world? –

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        June 17, 2015, 8:03 am

        @Hostage

        Regardless of it’s noble aims, it remains that the EU is giving out grants, contracts, and building infrastructure that benefits, directly or indirectly, the illegal Turkish settlers who now comprise half the population of Northern Cyprus.

        It’s refreshing to read your concession that the EU is guilty of the war crime of pillage, for it’s part in fishing out the resources of Western Sahara.

        Thanks!

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 17, 2015, 9:58 am

        @Hostage

        Regardless of it’s noble aims, it remains that the EU is giving out grants, contracts, and building infrastructure that benefits, directly or indirectly, the illegal Turkish settlers who now comprise half the population of Northern Cyprus.

        No, you’re still repeating shopworn propaganda on that score. The Grand Chamber of the European Court allows Greek owners to regain their property under any judgment of the Cypriot Courts and the funding regulation explicitly requires those original property rights to be respected. I already advised you about that here http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/settlement-clandestine-international#comment-773103

        It’s refreshing to read your concession that the EU is guilty of the war crime of pillage, for it’s part in fishing out the resources of Western Sahara.

        What’s this “concession” crap? I’ve written about the illegal activities, including joint criminal enterprises, involving the USA, UK, the EU, Israel, and other countries for years. Why don’t you admit that you’d like to see the guilty parties, especially the Israelis, get-off scot free? I contribute to NGOs and blogs that are dedicated to exposing these things and seeing that those responsible are named and shamed and brought to justice whenever possible.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 17, 2015, 1:20 pm

        @Jackdaw, since you like to keep bringing this topic up, based upon the ICJ opinion regarding Palestinians who had been displaced by the construction of the Wall, and the Judgments Of The European Court Of Human Rights In The Case Of Loizidou Against Turkey https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=417773&Site=CM , I would expect the ICC, the ICJ, and the ECHR to treat the illegal settlers and Israel as being in “continuing” violation of the rights of the refugees or prisoners/deportees to return to their properties in accordance with the applicable international human rights conventions and the corollary criminal prohibitions and statutes. See for example, Alan Nissel, ‘Continuing Crimes in the Rome Statute’ (2004) 25 Michigan Journal of International Law 653. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2070212

        Article 14 of the ILC’s codification regarding “Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts” states, “The breach of an international obligation by an act of a State having a continuing character extends over the entire period during which the act continues and remains not in conformity with the international obligation.” Article 30 stipulates “The State responsible for the international wrongful act is under an obligation to cease that act, if it is continuing.” The responsible officials of each successive regime and the individual settlers can be held criminally or civilly liable by the respective national, regional, and international courts for on-going refusal to make restitution, allow access to property, or pay compensation. Likewise, they can be held liable for the on-going offense of “unreasonable delay” or refusal to repatriate prisoners or refugees in cases of forced disappearances, transfers, or deportations.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        July 3, 2015, 3:16 pm

        @Jackdaw, since you like to keep bringing this topic up, here’s the latest development in the legal battle taking place in the General Court of the European Union over annulment of the EU trade agreement with Morocco regarding fishing in the occupied territorial waters of the Western Sahara. See: Trade Agreements, EU Law, and Occupied Territories – A Report on Polisario v Council @ http://www.ejiltalk.org/trade-agreements-eu-law-and-occupied-territories-a-report-on-polisario-v-council/

    • eljay
      eljay
      June 16, 2015, 11:09 am

      || Ramzi Jaber: I ask yet again: where do these zionists get this power? How? Why? Why the fear? Is it blackmail with personal or professional information gathered illegally by zionist intelligence agents?? I cannot find the answer. No one can it seems. ||

      It’s a good question to ask. I can understand why Zio-supremacists throw their money and influence around in order to get their “Jewish State” way. I can understand why some people go along with it. But I cannot understand why so many politicians and businessmen the world over are so desperate to defile their own dignity, honour and morals and to make fawning obeisance to all things Zio-supremacist.

  3. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 12, 2015, 2:39 pm

    “Israel is the one country in the Middle East that guarantees full civic rights. It’s the one county in the Middle East where everyone is protected under the law equally. We seek a genuine and secure peace with our Palestinian neighbors, but that can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions. It will not be achieved through boycotts and through threats of boycotts.”

    He should just put that speech on a digital recorder and press play when he needs to. That spiel never changes!

    Also Stephane, honey, you still got a little bit on your chin there.

  4. jfennelly
    jfennelly
    June 12, 2015, 3:22 pm

    I just threw up.

    • just
      just
      June 12, 2015, 3:30 pm

      I completely empathize, jfennelly.

      Compare and contrast:

      …”We seek a genuine and secure peace with our Palestinian neighbors, but that can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions.”…

      ” ‘Justice and freedom for Palestinians are incompatible with Israel’s existence’ “- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/#sthash.opMs3qyZ.dpuf

    • Bornajoo
      Bornajoo
      June 12, 2015, 5:23 pm

      “I just threw up”

      Pass the sick bucket this way please, I’m just about to

      I wonder what Monsieur Richard has been up to in his private life? but whatever it is they must have the photos.

      At least he didn’t have to crawl Towards king Bibi and kiss his feet. He managed to negotiate his way out of that one.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 13, 2015, 5:12 am

        I too wondered about personal blackmail but I think that this could be explained adequately by the general need of the French establishment to repel the accusations of anti-Semitism that have swirled around them since Chirac opposed the Iraq War. I think Walid wisely remarked that the ‘Freedom Fries’ experience taught the French a very serious lesson and somehow they have been on the wrong foot ever since. The shocking Charlie massacre ended up, despite the efforts of some Jewish citizens of France, not so much with French self-assertion and solidarity as with an air of French apology, slightly abject and demeaning, to Israel. Everyone knows, of course, that the Chirac sentiment is still alive somewhere, so what is called anti-Semitism can also be called ‘endemic’, leaving the French leadership even more embarrassed. There is an especially French debate on free speech whose opposite poles are the Charlie victims and the holocaust-questioning comedian Dieudonne, which all adds to the tension. So I’m sure that everyone who is anyone in France came down like a ton of bricks on the poor squashy Orange.

      • Walid
        Walid
        June 13, 2015, 9:55 am

        “… Everyone knows, of course, that the Chirac sentiment is still alive somewhere, so what is called anti-Semitism can also be called ‘endemic’” (MHughes)

        You are sort of saying that Gaullism is still alive in France; maybe that’s what Netanyahu was hinting at when he asked the Jews of France to move to Israel. The “Crif” Jewish lobby that carries on in France as a state within a state and that keeps everyone in a constant state of spook under threat of anti-Semitic tarring surely had something to do with Orange’s change of position on Israel.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        June 13, 2015, 6:33 pm

        You bet, Walid!

  5. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    June 12, 2015, 5:09 pm

    Netanyahu should have insisted the CEO do a belly crawl. Or humiliate him as they did the Turkish Ambassador with the high chair, low chair routine. These people have no self respect. In fact if I put in words what I really thought of of this CEO, I would be banned.

  6. John Salisbury
    John Salisbury
    June 13, 2015, 4:21 am

    What goes on behind the scenes ?

  7. margarix
    margarix
    June 13, 2015, 8:46 am

    Orange is my service provider. I may have to start boycotting them.

  8. CigarGod
    CigarGod
    June 13, 2015, 8:49 am

    On the bright side: An awful lot of people will see this as a bullying exercise, not based on the merits. They will see a foreign government making a private citizen of another country, crawl. There is no positive payoff for Modern Zionist Israel. On the darkside: Those who are either unable to see, or not interested in nuance, will just see a bullying Jew…and it will create new resentment/energize them…dark energy. Bibi likes to cultivate the dark energy of the mindless settlers. Unfortunately, his behavior cultivates mindlessness in those who cant tell the difference between Israeli, Jew, Zionist…let alone all the sub sets.
    When one cultivates hate, resentment, unfairness, denial, bullying, etc., that will be ones reward. Nice way to fulfill his obligation to his citizens…and “all the Jews of the world’ which he claims to represent. It aint working. I feel less safe…not because of Palestinians, but because of him and his team.

  9. eusebio
    eusebio
    June 13, 2015, 9:17 am

    It´s time to learn and take on a fair and open process political forces in Palestine and Israel

  10. RockyMissouri
    RockyMissouri
    June 13, 2015, 10:11 am

    TRUTH!

  11. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    June 13, 2015, 11:25 am

    For heaven’s sake…STOP!!! kissing Netanyahu’s toches. The ugly smell of Nazi-ism permeates the air more and more.

  12. Boo
    Boo
    June 13, 2015, 4:21 pm

    My granddaddy was pure French and he’d bite Bibi’s toches without ever dreaming of kissing it. I inherited his fierté and am one monkey who will never surrender to Zionism’s threats, lies and bluster.

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