Thanks, but no thanks

January 17, 2010

In News

By Meryl Ann Butler

Theodoros Pangalos, a 70-year-old Member of the Greek Parliament, received three bottles of wine as a holiday gift, with best wishes from Israel’s Ambassador, Ali Giachia. (Wikipedia lists him as Ali Yihiye.)

In a Trojan horse reversal, Pangalos returned this gift and thanked the Ambassador with the following letter:

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Thank you for the 3 bottles of wine that you sent me as season’s greetings. I wish to you, your family and everybody in the Embassy a happy new year. Good health and progress to you all.

Unhappily, I noticed that the wine you have sent me has been produced in the Golan Heights. I have been taught since I was very young not to steal and not to accept products of theft. So I cannot possibly accept this gift and I must return it back to you.

As you know, your country occupies illegally the Golan Heights which belongs to Syria, according to the International Law and numerous decisions of the International Community.

I take the opportunity to express my hope that Israel will find security within its internationally recognized borders and the terrorist activities against Israel territory by Hamas or anybody else will be contained and made impossible, but I also hope that your government will cease practicing the policy of collective punishment which was applied on a mass scale by Hitler and his armies.

Actions such as those of these days of the Israel military in Gaza remind the Greek people of holocausts such as in Kalavrita or Doxato or Distomo and certainly in the ghetto of Warsaw.

With these thoughts allow me to express to you my best wishes for you, the Israeli people and all the people of our region of the world.

Athens, 30/12/2008

Theodoros Pangalos, Member of Parliament (Greece)

Wikipedia tells us that the Greek name Θεόδωρος (Theodōros) means “gift of god” (from the Greek words Θεός, (theos) “God” and δώρον (dōron) “gift”. Pangalos’ words seem to have a gift of divine diplomacy.

Author’s notes:
A well-traveled fellow of Middle Eastern descent, who sent this to me, wrote, “what is remarkable, is that he (Israel’s Ambassador) is likely an Arab! One of those few who are integrated into the Israeli State, maybe a Druse. I’ve never encountered a Jew named Ali.”