Letter to Israeli Ambassador: Thank You, But No Thank You


The Israeli Embassy in Greece, in the name of Ambassador Ali Yahya, sent three bottles of wine as a holiday gift to Theodoros Pangalos.  Pangalos returned the gift, thanking the ambassador in the following letter.

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Thank you for the three bottles of wine that you sent me as a holiday gift.  I wish you, your family, and everybody in the embassy a happy new year.  Good health and progress to all of you.

Unfortunately, I have noticed that the wine you sent me was made in the Golan Heights.   Since my childhood, I have been taught to neither steal nor accept the proceeds of theft.  Therefore, I cannot possibly accept this gift and must return it to you.

As you know, your country illegally occupies the Golan Heights, which belongs to Syria according to international law and numerous decisions of the international community.

I wish to take this occasion to express my hope that Israel will achieve security within its internationally recognized borders and terrorist activities against Israeli territory by Hamas or anybody else will be contained and cease permanently, but I also hope that your government will stop practicing the policy of collective punishment, which was applied on a massive scale by Hitler and his army.

Such acts as those of the Israel military in Gaza these days remind us of the holocausts of Greeks in Kalavrita or Doxato or Distomo and certainly also that of the Warsaw ghetto.

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

Theodoros Pangalos of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) is a Member of Parliament in Greece.  The original Greek text of Pangalos’s letter, with an English translation, was published on his Web site on 30 December 2008: <www.pangalos.gr/releasesgr/2008/December08/Gramma301208.htm>.  The letter has also been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Russian, and Arabic by Tlaxcala.