Haim Saban Threatens Orange and Companies Boycotting Israel with Retribution
During their Las Vegas anti-BDS “Maccabee Summit,” Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, sat down for a joint interview with an Israeli Channel 2 TV reporter. She raised the issue of Orange CEO, Stephane Richard’s abject apology to Israel for suggesting his company would like to be rid of its Israeli affiliate. Saban replied with a tone of menace in his voice that any country that is even thinking about boycotting Israel should think twice because the harsh treatment being meted out to Richard is just the beginning for him. In other words, if you’re a corporate CEO and want to keep your job, heed Saban’s warning or you may be out in the street.
This is more than hardball tactics. This is the sort of bullying, brutish behavior for which Adelson is known. In the Middle East itself, it’s the sort of approach Israel takes to its neighbors. If you stand in our way, we’ll mow you down. Even if you don’t stand in our way, we may mow you down just for the fun of it.
During another segment, Saban jointly summarizes (on Adelson’s behalf) their overall goals:
Our interest is to take care of Israel’s interests in the United States.”
You didn’t hear a word about representing America’s interests because that’s not their interest. They’ve just raised the ugly specter of dual loyalty without having a clue why or how they did so. They may be billionaires and good at something. But they ain’t good at this.
Since earlier in the interview, Saban and Adelson had used terms like anti-Semitic and anti-Israel to portray BDS, the interviewer, in one of her few slightly probing questions, asked whether all criticism of Israel must be anti-Semitic. This is Adelson’s full unexpurgated reply:
“It’s people like you who are saying: ‘Is it really against Israel’s policy that you want to demonize the policy of Israel before anyone ever says that it’s the policy?
But it seemed to have nothing whatsoever to do with anti-Semitism. As a teenager, I suffered from anti-Semitism. A lot. The area in which I grew up [Roxbury, MA] suffered from maimings, killings, rapes, beatings from those who were anti-Semitic. But I can tell you there’s little or no sign in society today that anti-Semitism is even 10% [of Americans].
“But I’m absolutely positive there’s a lot of anti-Semitism on campus. Now, the people who are buying it are not intentionally, I don’t believe are bigots. But they’re buying the arguments that are only reacted to by the various [BDS] groups that are here today. That’s why this summit was put together.”
I understand the man is over 80 years old. I cut him some slack for that. But to rewrite the history of Boston Jewry and claim Jews were raped and murdered in Roxbury because they were Jewish? Really? To turn Boston into a Ukrainian shtetl? Pogroms in Roxbury? No, that’s unacceptable. But perfectly acceptable in the pro-Israel fantasy world in which he lives.
As they wrap up, Adelson tells the interviewer that it’s now time for dinner. He asks if the Israeli interviewer knows the Jewish saying: “We finish something, let’s eat. And after eating we say we finished eating, now let’s eat.” To this bon mot Saban responds: “I support that 100%!” And they follow this with a high-five.
A zoch in vay. If this is what Jewish identity has become, perhaps we deserve oblivion. And with enemies like this BDS can’t lose.
H/t to Abe Greenhouse.
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The Orange CEO declared:
“ … I don’t want to expose Orange to a level of risk and of penalties that could be really sizeable for the company”
It is not quite clear what possible risks and penalties he is referring to but outside Israel (except for the likes of Saban and Adelson of course) people don’t have the slightest difficulty in believing that there is nothing more than a business decision here made with an eye to the bottom line. Orange just followed belatedly the “avis” of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the juridical and reputational risks for those firms that get involved in business in the occupied territories.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3111463/Phone-giant-Orange-condemned-Israel-miserable-decision-pull-products-region.html#ixzz3cYaqxNgf
However the Israeli regime saw something quite different here:
“Culture Minister Miri Regev called on French President Francois Hollande to show “zero tolerance” for what she referred to as anti-Semitism, and urged Orange customers around the world to change carriers. Regev also said the CEO should be fired.”
Most foreign observers will, I believe, just shrug their shoulders on hearing this. And rightly so.
Are you really surprised that anyone who boycotts something won’t be subject to repercussions?
Of course orange will lose all it’s Israeli users. But no one will care with about 6 other operators for mobile phones.
Israel will not lay back and be a punchbag for BDS but will fight the boycotters
Lol. Ahahahaha. Listen to yourself. Tell me something, do the other whack jobs sound like you? This is just the beginning, and you’re already hysterical. It’s over, you’re toast. 😀
@ Shmuel: The party that will ultimately be subject to REAL repercussions for its behavior will not be the Orange CEO or any other corporate officer, but Israel itself. You can fight all you want. But ultimately it will be futile.
Schmuel — Sure, the government will “fight back” just as they always fight by personal smears and innuendos, threatening board members, maybe even an accident, who knows? This is the Zionist way. However, we are all watching, waiting for the first suggestion that Richards is a child abuser, drug addict, secret Nazi etc.
And they will fight back economically, which does sound fair to me. But I doubt anyone will drop Orange as a carrier or investment just because Israel doesn’t like them anymore. Israel doesn’t like anybody.
According to French media, the Israeli government has ‘invited’ Stéphane Richard to Israel, and he’s ‘accepted’ the invitation. I wonder if he had any choice, Orange former State-owned France Télécom is still owned at 25% by the French State.
It should also be noted that Orange is not operating in Israel-Palestine, but only leasing their image to the Israeli firm Partner (the only such agreement anywhere in the world), and the owner of Partner is …. Haim Sabban.
The images of vans with the Orange logo close to the ‘borders’ of Gaza this summer and rows of Israeli soldiers waiting for free phone calls amidst their massacres have been widely published in France, not to talk about the “Adopt a Soldier” campaign.
The way Adelson himself has fared in comments on him thus far is perhaps the clearest sign that anti-Semitism is no longer a pressing American problem. A while back Eric Alterman had a good column on that in The Nation. Here are the relevant fragments:
If a Jew-hater somewhere, inspired perhaps by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, sought to invent an individual who symbolizes almost all the anti-Semitic clichés that have dogged the Jewish people throughout history, he could hardly come up with a character more perfect than Sheldon Adelson.
Think about it. Adelson, who likes to brag, “You know, I am the richest Jew in the world,” is a gambling magnate who is reported to be under criminal investigation for official bribery and has been accused of having widespread ties to organized crime, including the use of prostitution for his business interests. He is openly deploying his $22 billion fortune to pervert our democracy on behalf of what he believes to be the best interests of Israel, which he defines as an endless war by the Jewish state against its adversaries, with America offering its unquestioning support.
Nobody has noted—at least not in public—that the agenda in question happens to be the one to which Jews accused of “dual loyalty” or of being “Israel-firsters” are alleged to have dedicated themselves. How can it be that the self-proclaimed “richest Jew in the world” can buy the foreign policy of a major party’s potential presidential candidate (viz. Gingrich A.B.) on behalf of a vision of endless Israeli aggression—up to and including US support for yet another potentially disastrous pre-emptive attack—and the historically abused entity of “the Jews” has somehow escaped the blame?
Don’t get me wrong. While I lack sympathy for pretty much everything Adelson and Gingrich seek to accomplish, I am unabashedly thrilled that the bugaboo of anti-Semitic accusation is almost nowhere to be found. But given the near-complete disappearance of this once wholly respectable American prejudice, one must ask why so many organizations in the American Jewish community—along with their neoconservative allies in the media and policy world—remain so intently focused on this problem. Is it that the past has left them so psychologically invested in a now-discredited discourse that they lack the ability to see reality for what it is and devote themselves to more worthy causes? Or do at least some of them, as I implied in my last column, find the accusation so politically useful against Israel’s critics that they prefer to level this nefarious accusation rather than argue the merits of their position?
So, why “anti-semitism” now? I think there are two answers. First, it is a convenient inflammatory one word defense or shield of Zionist practices and policies. Reiterating the charge again and again reinforces standard “political correctness” (PC) which specifies that some things cannot be uttered in polite company including the word “Jew” and “Jewish” in any statement other than laudatory, period. Jews, of course, can use these words freely just so long as they are ardent Israel supporters.
But if a Jew uses these words in any derogatory or any questioning sense, they too have violated PC. So, the second reason for the repeated smears of anti-semitism is to keep PC in place such that the Jewish people as such are never ever charged with responsibility for the Zionist misadventure. As much as any national political program has less than total support from citizens, the Jewish people now support Israel in a large majority and the attribution of responsibility to the Jewish people is credible and even a correct shorthand. After all, we say things of the sort “The Germans invaded the Soviet Union” but not “The Jews invaded Gaza.” I know this is “conflation” of Jews and Zionists, but this is exactly the point. To the extent that PC makes the second statement incorrect, the Jewish people are not responsible for Zionism, rather the Israelis are, or the Zionists are. If, however, the Jewish people were to accept this responsibility and speak out against further Zionist crimes, the expansionist, ethnic, militarist state would collapse. The danger they might face in speaking out is trivial compared to the danger faced by Germans who are castigated for not speaking out at one time! Michael Neumann has developed this thinking on his website.
I just don’t get it.
The behaviour of Netanyahu, Lapid, and just about every Zionist politician in between has been histrionics that is bordering on outright irrational panic.
Over what, exactly?
A few resolutions passed on US campuses?
A decision from a handful of US church organizations to divest?
A motion at FIFA that in the end wasn’t even put to a vote?
OK, sure, those are the beginnings of a trend and, sure, Zionists are not at all used to losing.
But, honestly, what’s all this running around doing an impersonation of a headless chicken?
What gives? It can’t be the “wins” that BDS have managed so far, nor can it be a simple extrapolation of what has transpired because, honestly, most of those wins have been symbolic at best.
There must be something more. Netanyahu and his gang must know something is coming, and whatever it is – and I got no idea what it is – it’s Big Enough to get Bibi’s gang crapping in their pants.
Saban and Adelson too, by the look of it.
I wonder what it is. Is the EU planning on laying down the law – literally?
Would the mob at the top really be all that scared? Or do we have another con job here designed to deflect attention from the fact that Bibi’s anti-Obama anti-Iran campaign seems to be getting nowhere?
It is of course quite possible that in the process of scaring others they have managed to get frightened themselves.
It’s possible, I suppose.
But how does that explain Lapid’s way-over-the-top spray in New York, where he equated BDS supporters with 9/11 and claimed that they are in cahoots with the long-long-dead Mufti of Jerusalem?
Lapid is no longer in government, he is in the opposition. He therefore has no vested interest in deflecting attention away from this government’s failings on Iran or on any other topic.
Quite the opposite, I would imagine.
But he seems genuinely scared of BDS, so much so that he was reduced to incoherence in his public appearances state-side. And this from a dude who is trained as a media performer.
Odd. Decidedly odd.
Partner got a very unique license to the Orange brand b/c of historical reason. both companies belonged to Hutchison Whampoa while it set up the Israeli company. The contract for the brand was done with no expiration date. If Orange wants to get out of the contract, it should compensate Partner for the substantial cost of rebranding a company after over a decade of investment. This is basic business acumen.
If Orange decision is indeed not political, the location and timing of announcing it is very poor, in Cairo in the midst of a BDS campaign.
That campaign is also not very justified since the connection between Orange and Partner are extremely weak. They should go after Intel which is the biggest private employer in Israel with exports of billions and real contribution to Israel economy but I guess that would be too much of an inconvenience.
@ dude: Oh, you can be sure Intel is on the agenda. They’re a big nut to crack. But their day will come too.
The connection between Orange & Partner is certainly NOT weak as Partner is licensing Orange’s name, logo, etc. There can’t be a stronger visual connection in consumers’ minds.
Well it seems that Israeli Partner Communications goes far beyond normal western business practices. It has numerous pages which have a header “Orange – Investors relations”. It is understandable that Partner Communications has the right to use Orange (Tm) in marketing and branding its services and shops, but has Partner Communications really the right to pretend to be a company named Orange to investors and others? Partner Communications Company Ltd is listed in the stock exchanges of Tel Aviv (PTNR), London (PCCD) and Nasdaq (PTNR), so what it pretends to be is not an Israeli and Jewish private matter. Partner Communications is not owned by Orange S.A. or vice versa.
Let’s imagine CocaCola would have an arrangement that an Israeli company would have a right to produce CocaCola, market and sell their drinks in Israel paying some license fee for that. Would CocaCola silently watch if the Israeli company would pretend to be CocaCola and use the its name in marketing the company to investors in major stock exchanges? No wonder that the French are pissed off. If some western company makes a license agreement with Israelis they must be insane. In a while the Israeli “partner” company becomes “them” and if somebody complains begin the Israelis their loud anti-Semitism howling and Jewish billionaires around the world threatening the complainer with “…..”.
The solution to ths Orange problem is simple. Here it is:
Let GOI undertake to pay all penalties and make good all busines losses that accrue to Orange either due to government or court actions based on Israel’s settlements or occupation and/or due to citizen disenchantment of the BDS flavor. In that case, Orange can stay in the OPT game without much feart of loss (oteher than fear of Isrfaeli insolvancy).
Is that fair? To make Israel “responsible” for the losses incurred by a business which does business in Israel and has business loses due to Israeli behavior? Sure is.
It’s also similar to provisions of TPP, TIPP, NAFTA, etc., which make host countries pay for business loses of investors who invest in said countries where such business loses are incurred because of actions by the host government.
The thought occurred to me, that if all the attention focused on the I/P conflict was redirected at, say, the problem of global warming, our children might actually have a habitable planet to live on.
I could be wrong.
If Israel devoted half the energy it wastes in anti BDS hysteria to actually solving the Israeli Arab conflict, think how much better off Israel & the region would be!
you are wrong. our dealings here are personal. our subjective problem here is not global warming. it’s I/P, and that’s the meat of this here discussion.
and while your plea sounds naive, it is a Non sequitur. global warming discussions and action should be made in forums that deal with global warming.
and want to change the world and see it greener? start with yourself. talk to your neighbors and get something done where you are – it’s easy to preach.
you reap what ou sow Israël, it’s written in your own tradition. You should start to actaccordingly