Blog by Dr. Shimon Samuels published in The Times of Israel
5 June 2015
In 1991, upon independence from the crumbling Soviet Union, the Latvian post office issued a set of postage stamps in honour of its previous 1940’s ‘independent’ Air Force, each plane decked with the swastika. It was our appeal to the Universal Postal Union that led to their withdrawal.
In similar situations, the Charter or mission statements of the World Trade Organization (WTO),the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),UNESCO, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and others of the global alphabet soup have proven useful benchmarks in naming, blaming and shaming their states-parties, whether for antisemitism or, increasingly, boycott.
A protest to the newly elected President of the European Council, Poland’s Donald Tusk, regarding the E.U.’ delisting of Hamas from its designated terrorist organizations – based upon a European Court technicality – elicited an immediate official clarification that the Hamas status had. in no way, changed. This has, so-far, blocked Hamas ‘normalization’ steps on the national level.
Our letter, last week, to the United Nations 193 member-state specialized agency, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, expressed concern at “threats by Orange Telecom CEO, Stéphane Richard, to join the Arab boycott of Israel”, continued, “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.”
Today’s French Socialist government is a coalition from centre-left across to extremists embracing Marxian and anarchist fossil agendas. Among them are profusely anti-Zionist ideologues militating for BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions initiatives against Israel. Their obsessive -compulsive singling out of Israel, without a whit of concern for civilian massacres by Syria. ISIS or any other human rights violator, exposes their innate antisemitism even if many are themselves born Jewish.
As the late Simon Wiesenthal responded to a journalist’s query as to “what was a Jewish Kapo?” He retorted emphatically, “a Kapo!”
BDS began as an NGO campaign. Today, it is infiltrating government policy and primarily in France.
It is France that bears responsibility for the repercussions of Orange CEO, Stephane Richard’s statement:’ we want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries’.
This logic presents a zero-sum, either/or, conclusion precluding any possibility of peace, rejecting equitable fair-trade and evoking 1930s Western companies seeking to be ‘partners of the Nazis’ or those currently eager for sanctions busting trade with Iran’”.
We have called on the ITU “to admonish France for contravening its commitment to the ITU’s promise to ensure that information and communication technologies (ICT) access and services are affordable, equitable and universal”.
We have urged the ITU to call out France for the offensive language of its Orange Telecom company and that Paris demand from its CEO an apology to the Jewish people, lest Jews worldwide invoke their client privilege by divesting from Orange”.
The ITU, just as its sister institutions of the international community must put its moral commitments where its mouth is, especially when one of its sovereign members is constantly delegitimized to the point of ostracism
Their Secretariats and official authorities must defend their statutes, if only to prevent precedents that may eventually endanger all their members.
Shimon Samuels is Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.