Orange S.A. CEO Stephane Richard is continuing his apologetics tour, attempting to appease Israel.
In a written response to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely, Richard said, “Orange does not support any sort of boycott. I was inaccurately quoted, and I deny what was reported. I am a friend of Israel, and I visit frequently.”
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry this week to tell Richard that if he is serious about his desire to apologize, he should come to Israel and do so.
“I regret the situation and the Orange-Israel controversy,” Richard wrote to Hotovely. “I can promise you that we are not involved in politics; only business.”
Richard wrote that Orange’s decision to ask Partner Communications Ltd. to cease use of its brand stemmed purely from business considerations: “Our decision to end the use of the Orange brand when it becomes possible is due to commercial strategy, nothing more. Orange Group is not interested in having a brand presence in countries where is not the operator. Orange is not a shareholder, and does not have voting rights in Partner… and this matter came up in conversations with Partner management on multiple occasions.”
Richard added: “I vehemently deny the ideas that have been suggested in some media outlets alleging that the decision stemmed from political considerations or was due pressure from some organization or other,” referring, of course, to the BDS movement.
Richard described some of the criticisms of him as “aggressive,” and claimed that he did not make the statements attributed to him in his speech in Cairo.