A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

regifting, nation to nation

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 23, 2008

As I was packing up to leave work for the day, I got a surprise “gift” in my inbox: a fascinating Washington Post article on gifts of state. Apparently, gifts to American officials “are usually stored in government archives or with the GSA in accordance with federal law, which bars officials from accepting personal presents in almost all circumstances. They are then shipped off to the National Archives or given to charitable organizations.”

Or, naturally, they are regifted. As the article notes:

There are some exceptions. A century-old olive tree from Walid Joumblatt, chairman of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party, was transplanted to the Israeli embassy compound in Washington.

Dying, dying laughing.


5 Responses to “regifting, nation to nation”

  1. snarla said

    Regifting that olive tree to the Israeli embassy seems kind of mean-spirited, but then, I don’t know all the players very well.
    Nothing against regifting, but I wouldn’t give my dad’s new girlfriend’s gift to my ex-stepmother, for example.

  2. Snarla, I totally agree – and I don’t think it was an innocent mistake. After all, it was an OLIVE tree, of all things. I see heavy-handed (ham-handed?) symbolism at work here!

  3. Walid Joumblatt never fought the Israelis, actually, he is in very good terms with the Israeli Druze community…

  4. Kheireddine, good point! And the Israeli Druze are very well integrated into Israeli society – they even serve in the Army, which almost no Arabs are allowed to do. I have been told that during the Israeli invasions the Druze soldiers were exempted from fighting in/invading any Druze areas – have you heard anything like this?

    I still think it was a rather pointed re-gift, especially since until quite recently Jumblatt was not on such good terms with the US :).

  5. It is rather complex, some Israeli Druze soldiers were imprisonned because they refused to serve in Druze areas. For Druze-Israeli relations, I recommend this book: Druze and Jews in Israel -: A Shared Destiny?
    by Zeidan Atashi


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