“Orange divestment from Israel justified as 'wanting to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries', evokes 1930s Western companies seeking to be 'partners of the Nazis' or those currently eager for sanctions busting trade with Iran.”

Paris, 5 June 2015

In a letter to the United Nations 193 member-state International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed concern at "threats by Orange Telecom CEO, Stéphane Richard, to join the Arab boycott of Israel,” continuing, “as the French government owns 25% of Orange, it is for France to keep its non-discriminatory and universalist responsibilities to the ITU vision,’Committed to Connecting the World’:

- ITU makes phone calls possible... ITU standards, protocols and international agreements are the essential elements underpinning the global telecommunication system.

- ITU powers the mobile revolution, forging the technical standards and policy frameworks that make mobile and broadband possible.

- ITU works with public and private sector partners to ensure that information and communication technologies (ICT) access and services are affordable, equitable and universal.”

Samuels argued that, “Richard's statement: 'We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries', presents a zero-sum, either/or, conclusion precluding fair-trade and evoking 1930s Western companies seeking to be 'partners of the Nazis' or those currently eager for sanctions busting trade with Iran.”

The Centre called on the ITU “to admonish France for the offensive language of its Orange Telecom company and demand from its CEO an apology to the Jewish people, lest Jews worldwide invoke their client privilege by divesting from Orange.”