Palestinian Authority officials have expressed outrage at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) decision to ban any display of Palestinian Authority flags at next month’s Eurovision song contest in Sweden.
But it wasn’t personal — a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of the PA government in Ramallah.
EBU released the “flag policy” on their website on Friday. “Particularly, the organizers request and urge the fan community to respect and appreciate the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest,” the statement read. Only flags representing UN member states are to be permitted, along with the “rainbow flag” and the European Union flag – but only if they are not “used as [a] tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show.”
There is a long list of “not” permitted flags, which include local, regional, or provincial flags, those with commercial messages, “flags of disputed territories,” offensive statements, non-English statements and high objects such as selfie-sticks that might obstruct the cameras. There are also size restrictions as well.
Nevertheless, newly-appointed PLO secretary-general and heir-apparent Saeb Erekat slammed the decision on Saturday.
Writing to EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot, Erekat expressed his “outrage and indignation” according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, and a post on Twitter. Erekat called the decision “discriminatory and a serious offense against our nation.”
The EBU, which produces the show, also banned flags from other disputed political entities such as Crimea, Northern Cyprus and – as the “Palestine Chronicle” noted – the Islamic State. (No, this is no joke – the PC really did write that and apparently really intended it as a geographical and political reference.)
The first semi-final will be held on May 10, the second on May 12 and the final date is set for May 14.