Why is Welsh singer Charlotte Church being accused of antisemitism?

Why is Charlotte Church having to deny antisemitism accusations?
Why is Charlotte Church having to deny antisemitism accusations? Copyright AP/Frank Augstein
Copyright AP/Frank Augstein
By David Mouriquand
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“From The River To The Sea” is viewed by many pro-Israel supporters as a way to call for the eradication of the Israeli state.


Welsh singer Charlotte Church has received criticism for leading a controversial pro-Palestinian chant at a recent charity live event.

Last weekend, Church played at Bedwas Workmen’s Hall in Caerphilly, Wales, at a concert to raise money for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, which supports children in Gaza.

To end the show, she led a choir of 100 singers in a chant of “From The River To The Sea” - a controversial pro-Palastianian chant.

The politcally-charged song is viewed by some pro-Israel supporters as a way to call for the eradication of the Israeli state. It refers to the land between the River Jordan, which borders the occupied West Bank and Israel to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.

The charty Campaign Against Antisemitism believes that it calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. However, some pro-Palestinian supporters reject this, saying it is simply expressing the need for equality for all inhabitants of historic Palestine. The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign believes that the phrase represents “the right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality and justice”.

Addressing the backlash, the 38-year-old singer livestreamed her response on Instagram, stating: “Just to clarify my intentions there, I am in no way anti-Semitic. I am fighting for the liberation of all people. I have a deep heart for all religions and all difference.”

She added: “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.”

Appearing on the Novara Live political podcast yesterday (Monday 26 February), 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.

Campaign Against Antisemitism described the chant as "genocidal" and has accused Church of “anti-Jewish racism”. They have called for the Charity Commission to investigate.

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.”

"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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