Congressman: French cell firm’s plan to divest from Israel an ‘economic attack’

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus, expressed his disapproval on Thursday with French cellular firm Orange for its choice to cut ties with its Israeli subsidiary, Partner Communications Company.


Roskam urged the French government to denounce Orange’s move, calling it
an “economic attack,” and reiterated the call in a letter to French
President François Hollande.

After months of pressure from Europe’s Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement, Orange CEO Stephane Richard shared his company’s intentions earlier this week.

“Our intention is to withdraw from Israel,” Richard said. “It will take time, (but) for sure we will do it…I am ready to do this tomorrow morning…but without exposing Orange to huge risks.”

Roskam’s bipartisan language in fighting the BDS movement in Europe was recently adopted into the Trade Promotion Authority bill, which passed the Senate last month and is now under consideration in the House.

“This outrageous move by Orange unfortunately represents a broader, insidious campaign within Europe and beyond to de-legitimize and economically isolate Israel,” Roskam said. “The Orange CEO’s claim that these actions are not ‘political’ is shamelessly flimsy. Cutting off economic ties with an Israeli company in political protest will only advance the cause of hatred and intolerance. It certainly won’t help achieve peace in the region, and it moves the global economy in a dangerous and unproductive direction.
I urge the French government to denounce this economic attack with haste.”