PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat slammed the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) on Saturday for banning the Palestinian flag from the 2016 Eurovision song contest, calling the ruling “discriminatory and a serious offense against our nation.”
In a letter obtained by Ma’an addressed to EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot, Erekat expressed his “outrage and indignation” toward the decision, which also banned flags from other disputed political entities such as Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh, Northern Cyprus, and the Islamic State.
— Palestine PLO – NAD (@nadplo) April 30, 2016
EBU released the “flag policy” on their website on Friday, which was reportedly published by mistake.
The statement read: “Particularly, the organizers request and urge the fan community to respect and appreciate the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest,” stating that only flags representing UN member states would be permitted.
— Xavier Abu Eid (@xabueid) April 29, 2016
Erekat responded to the ban, telling Philippot: “Your decision to single out the flag of Palestine, a country recognized by 138 world nations and who has an observer status in the United Nations, is discriminatory and a serious offense against our nation.”
Eurovision has never invited a Palestinian representative to participate in the contest, while Israel has participated in the event 38 times since 1973.