Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on France Thursday to distance itself from comments made by the CEO of French Telecom giant Orange which were perceived in Israel as being in support of a boycott against the Jewish state.
"I call on the French Government to renounce publicly the miserable statements and the miserable actions of a company of which it holds partial ownership," he said.
Orange CEO Stephane Richard said Wednesday he wanted to end the licensing agreement with Israeli mobile firm partner, even though there was a huge risk of financial penalties from doing so, and that the decision was in part due to the firm's relations with Arab countries. The French government owns 25% of Orange and it is under pressure to pull out of its Israeli activities because Partner operates in the West Bank.
"I call on all of our closest allies to say in a loud and clear voice that they unconditionally oppose all types of boycott against the Jewish State," Netanyahu said Thursday.
"This theater of the absurd, in which a human rights respecting Democracy which is forced to defend itself from rockets and terror tunnels and then is subject to automatic condemnations and attempts to boycott it - This theater of the absurd will not be forgiven" he said.