The top executive of a large French telecommunications company apologized to Israel’s deputy prime minister on Friday just days after setting off a firestorm of criticism by announcing plans to cut economic ties with the Jewish state.
“I spoke with the CEO of Orange, Stephane Richard, and I told him that the people of Israel are angered and hurt by his statements,” Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom wrote on his Facebook page. “I told him how it saddened me that he had turned into a tool in the struggle against Israel and that he had lent a hand to the assault by Israel-haters who are trying to harm Israel not just militarily but economically.”
“Richard apologized for his remarks that he made during a conference in Egypt and told me that he is a friend of Israel,” Shalom wrote. “He claimed that his comments were not properly understood and that he spoke only about the economic aspect [of his decision].”
“He apologized on behalf of himself and the company for the remarks, and he said that they condemn all forms of boycotts,” the deputy prime minister wrote.