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Sunday, June 07, 2015

And then there were two: South Carolina says 'no' to BDS (and Orange stays in Israel)

Jews make up a mere 0.3% of its population, so they obviously have little or nothing to do with it, but the State of South Carolina has become the second American state to ban BDS.
Last month, the Illinois state legislature unanimously approved a bill barring the state from investing its pension funds in companies that boycott Israel. The legislation put a hefty price tag on participation in BDS: It ensured that taxpayer money would not go toward supporting companies that join forces with a movement widely understood as seeking to abolish the world’s only Jewish state.
Yesterday, South Carolina became the second state to join this anti-BDS brigade by passing a law that bars state agencies from contracting with any business that boycotts others “based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.” The last item on the list—”national origin”—effectively encompasses boycotts of the state of Israel, but is not limited to them. Both bills enable citizens to ensure that their taxes are not used to indirectly bolster a movement they oppose.
Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law who consulted with the drafters of South Carolina’s bill, explained the rationale for this sort of legislation in The Washington Post:
A major tactic of BDS is to attempt to get state universities and other governmental entities to cut ties with Israel. There is no doubt that BDS proponents are within their constitutional rights to seek governmental action against companies in response to the alleged bad deeds of Israel’s government. But this constitutional protection is not one-sided, and cuts both ways. Supporters of Israel can seek government action in response to the alleged bad deeds of the boycotters.
Given the ease with which Illinois and South Carolina passed their laws, it seems likely that similar pro-Israel bills will be brought to the floors of other state legislatures in the future. At the same time, Congress has approved an anti-BDS amendment to the negotiating guidelines for the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty it is currently debating.
In other weekend news, the French cellular company Orange announced that they won't be leaving Israel after all.
"Orange does not support any form of boycott, in Israel or anywhere else in the world," Richard said in comments emailed to news agency Agence France Presse and confirmed by an Orange spokesman.
"Our decision on the use of the brand is motivated - as it is all over the world - solely by our brand strategy. Let me make it very clear that the Orange Group is in Israel to stay."
Orange is present in Israel via Orange Business Services, Internet television unit Viaccess-Orca, and Orange laboratories.
Richard had been quoted by media reports as saying at a news conference in Cairo on Wednesday that he was willing to withdraw the Orange brand from Israel "tomorrow morning".
An Orange spokesman said there had been a "huge misunderstanding", and that Richard had not been referring to exiting the country.
In a recording of excerpts of the conference emailed by the spokesman, Richard said Orange had negotiated a termination date in the contract regarding the use of the Orange brand.
"Now...we have the capacity to terminate this contract in the future," he said. "Our intention is to terminate the contract. Our intention is as soon as possible from a contractual point of view and preserving our interests of course, our intention is to withdraw Orange brand from Israel."
He added: "Our group policy is not to license our brand when we're not the operator... There isn't a single country in the world where we do that, so there's no reason to do it in Israel either... We want to control our brand."
Partner said the only link between it and Orange was the brand, used by the Israeli company since 1998.
But the cellular phone company brand will not be known as 'Orange' anymore. Fine with me. 

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At 6:25 PM, Blogger InMemoryOf Yossi said...

Carl, what will it be known as, Yellow?


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