Israeli media mogul Haim Saban: Orange 'succumbs to pressure from anti-Semitic' groups

Controlling shareholder of Israeli firm Partner Communications pans French telecoms amid kerfuffle surrounding Orange, company's CEO.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 4, 2015 21:54
1 minute read.
Haim Saban

Haim Saban. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Haim Saban, the controlling shareholder of the Israeli firm Partner Communications, lambasted French telecoms giant Orange on Thursday for "succumbing to all kinds of pressure from anti-Semitic organizations" amid a kerfuffle surrounding the mobile network operator.

The Israeli-American media mogul's comments to Channel 2 followed Orange's announcement that it plans to end its brand licensing deal with Partner, the Israeli mobile carrier that pays Orange to use its popular brand name.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The company said Thursday that its desire to end the agreement was a matter of policy and not politics as rumored following remarks made Wednesday by Orange CEO Stephane Richard were perceived in Israel as supporting a boycott against the Jewish state.

Richard said Wednesday he wanted to end the agreement, 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.

Echoing remarks by top Israeli officials, the Hollywood billionaire told Channel 2 that he was also disappointed with the French government for not yet issuing a response stating that Paris distances itself from Richard's statements made in Cairo. Saban also called for Richard's resignation.

In the Channel 2 interview, Saban noted that Partner had "recently" signed a 10-year contract with Orange.



He added that the declaration by Orange of a possible end to the contract with Partner was "devoid of any practical content."

"We [Partner] are also considering all of our option in light of the statement, which is damaging to international standards," he told the Israeli TV station.

France's Foreign Ministry has declined to comment specifically on Richard's comments. But it reaffirmed that France is against any boycott of Israel, while viewing as illegal the settlements it has built in the West Bank, where Partner and other Israeli phone companies have operations.

Reuters contributed to this report.



Related Content

St.-Sgt. Aviv Levi funeral, July 22, 2018
July 22, 2018
'We can't go on living without him': Aviv Levi laid to rest

By ALON HOCHMON/MAARIV