Charlotte Church denies antisemitism accusations after leading choir in pro-Palestinian chant

By Isaac M February 27, 2024

Welsh singer Charlotte Church has said she is in “no way antisemitic” after taking part in a concert which featured a controversial pro-Palestinian chant.

Church led a choir of approximately 100 people in a rendition of “from the river to the sea” at a gig she co-organised with a Welsh choir in order to raise money for charity, the Middle East Children’s Alliance.

But the singer faced a backlash after using the chant, which is viewed by some pro-Israel supporters as a way to call for the eradication of the Israeli state.

Some pro-Palestinian supporters reject this, saying it is simply expressing the need for equality for all inhabitants of historic Palestine.

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In a live broadcast on Instagram on Monday, Church addressed “alarmist” reports relating to the Big Sing for Palestine event in Caerphilly.

“Just to clarify my intentions there, I am in no way antisemitic. I am fighting for the liberation of all people. I have a deep heart for all religions and all difference,” she said.

“It was a beautiful, beautiful event. But unfortunately the powers that be can’t have that. [They] can’t have such a powerful symbol of resistance as what we worked towards on Saturday.”

‘I would do it again 100 times’

The 38-year-old confirmed the event had ended with a chant of the words “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” but claimed it is not antisemitic.

She said: “Clearly, if you know the history of it all, [it is] not an antisemitic chant calling for the obliteration of Israel. It is not that in any way shape or form. It is calling for the peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians.”

Church said “lots of other beautiful songs… of liberation and freedom” were performed at the event, including Arabic songs, Welsh songs, and South African songs from the anti-Apartheid movement, which had lyrics “adapted to the situation in Palestine”.

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Appearing on the Novara Live political podcast later on Monday, Church said she stands by everything they sang at the event.

“It was a deeply spiritual experience for me and I would do it again 100 times – and plan to,” she said.

The singer has previously been vocal about her support for Palestine.

Last month, she said she “is in tears daily” after watching videos that come out of the territory, adding that she would “fight like a lioness for their liberation”.

The charity, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, described the chant as “genocidal,” as it refers to the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, saying it “only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state”.

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‘From the river to the sea’ explained

Responding to Church, a spokesperson for the charity said: “Singing From The River To The Sea is not standing up for human rights.

“At… worst Charlotte Church is using the voice for which she is so well known to fan the flames of hatred.

“You cannot stoop lower than using your stardom to teach kids to sing extremist lyrics in a village hall.

“We will be writing to the Charity Commission to ask them to investigate how this was allowed to take place on a charity’s premises.”


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