TEL AVIV – A decision by European Broadcasters to ban the Palestinian flag from the upcoming Eurovision song contest has sparked outrage from Palestinians.
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s top negotiator and recently appointed secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, demanded an apology on Saturday, saying the decision was “discriminatory and a serious offense against our nation.”
A document that displayed the forbidden flags was recently leaked. It also included the Basque flag – causing uproar in Spain – the Islamic State flag, and the rainbow flag of the LGBT movement.
Erekat’s letter to Jean-Paul Philippot, president of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), denounced what it called a “shameful, totally biased, and unacceptable decision,” and demanded “its immediate cancellation.”
Erekat called on the EBU “to apologize to Palestine and the millions of Palestinians across the world.”
He also noted that this year’s song competition will be held in Sweden, the first western country in the European Union to recognize the state of Palestine, and said the Palestinian flag is on display “in all European countries through diplomatic representations.”
“The flag policy is not targeting any territory or organization,” a spokesman for the organizers explained, noting that only the flags of member states of the United Nations are authorized.
Nevertheless, the EBU has since removed the offending document.