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.”
“On behalf of the State of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Organization, I write to express to you my outrage and indignation towards your decision to ban the flag of the State of Palestine from the Eurovision song contest.
Your decision to single out the flag of Palestine, a country recognized by 137 world nations and who has an observer status in the United Nations, is discriminatory and a serious offense against our nation.
The flag of Palestine is the symbol of a nation that exists and whose rights have been recognized by the United Nations; including our inalienable right to self-determination.
Our flag has been raised in all European countries through diplomatic representations; including Switzerland, the country where you have your headquarters.
Furthermore, the Eurovision song contest this year will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, the first EU member state in Western Europe to officially recognize the State of Palestine.
Your decision is totally biased and unacceptable. We call upon you to immediately revoke this shameful decision.
It’s also equally necessary for the European Union Broadcasting Corporation to apologize to Palestine and to millions of Palestinians around the world.”
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.
Eurovision spokesman Dave Goodman said that “the flag policy is not aimed against specific territories or organisations, and certainly does not compare them to each other.”
Eurovision has never invited a Palestinian representative to participate in the contest, while Israel has participated in the event 38 times since 1973.