The noise started after the speech by Orange (a French cellular company) CEO:
Orange CEO Stephane Richard had told an audience in Cairo he would cut ties with Israel “tomorrow” if he could, but feared penalties, indicating that the move was intended to soothe Arab concerns over the company’s dealings with Partner, which operates in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.How trustful is Mr Richard?
“I know that it is a sensitive issue here in Egypt, but not only in Egypt … We want to be one of the trustful partners of all Arab countries,” he said.
I cannot say, although this picture of overwhelming sincerity makes me want to check my wallet, but what do I know? Especially when I read the following (in the same article):
Three years ago, Richard attended a conference in Israel on new media, and hailed the country for its “warmth” and spirit of innovation.When you look at the picture below, you shall see what to trust in this case:
To explain the map to uninitialized: it represents the area called in business lingo EMEA: Europe, Middle East and Africa. The orange blots show the countries where Orange is operating. The North Africa, the abode of predominantly Arab countries, shows only Egypt and Tunisia being penetrated by the telecom juggernaut. In Israel Orange presence is only symbolic, boiling down to the Orange logo, for use of which logo the local company - Partner - is paying a hefty yearly fee to Orange.
Of course, Mr Richard would like to see the colors of his company spread over more Muslim countries, and his marketing zeal explains his sudden foray into Middle East politics. Nothing more, nothing less.
So this response by some irked Partner employees is quite fitting:
I am somehow confident that Partner's fiscal situation wouldn't suffer much if they decide to change their logo eventually, of course, after suing the heck out of Orange France.
As for some responses by our politicos, especially this one:
Culture Minister Miri Regev called on French President Francois Hollande to fire Richard.How to say it gently, dear Miri: it is not exactly how it works in democratic countries. Look it up in the dictionary... just focus on culture for now (and deity save our culture).
Update: Mr Richard denies everything he said. Aside of the logo issue, which he seems to justify. You can listen to his interview in the linked article.