The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) published a list on Friday of flags which are banned to display during the upcoming 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden next month, including those of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Palestinians. Only flags representing UN member states will be permitted. The decision has angered the Palestinians.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat on Saturday slammed the decision, saying it was “discriminatory and a serious offense” to the Palestinians.
In a letter to EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot, Erekat, expressed his “outrage and indignation” at the decision to ban the display of the PLO colors.
Erekat, the head negotiator in the diplomatic talks with Israel, noted that the Palestinian flag has been raised “in all European countries through diplomatic representations,” including Switzerland, where EBU’s headquarters are located.
“Your decision is totally biased and unacceptable. We call upon you to immediately revoke this shameful decision,” wrote Erekat, demanding that the EBU apologize to the “millions of Palestinians around the world.”
The EBU released the “flag policy” on their website, stating that: “Particularly, the organizers request and urge the fan community to respect and appreciate the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest,” and that only flags representing United Nations (UN) member states would be permitted.
The list included disputed political entities such as Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh and Northern Cyprus.
A Eurovision spokesperson later apologized and said that “the flag policy is not aimed against specific territories or organizations, and certainly does not compare them to each other,” but did not specifically relate to the Palestinian outrage.
There is no Palestinian representation at the Eurovision, while Israel has participated in the event 38 times since 1973 and has won three times.
By: United with Israel Staff
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