Charlotte Church denies ‘misguided’ claims of antisemitism over protest chant

Charlotte Church said it is “misguided” to draw an inference of antisemitism from a pro-Palestinian chant she sang.

The Welsh singer, 38, said she had experienced a “really uncomfortable day” as she faced a backlash for leading a choir in a rendition of From The River To The Sea at the Sing For Palestine fundraising event at Bedwas Workmen’s Hall in Bedwas, Wales, on Saturday.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism described it as a “genocidal chant” that calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, amid the on-going conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas since October 7.

“To be honest, I hate the idea that anyone thinks that I am at all antisemitic or trying to make things more divisive, but I stand by everything we sang,” Church said on Novara Live.

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

On Monday, the Campaign Against Antisemitism accused Church of encouraging hatred and called for the Charity Commission to investigate the incident.

Church said: “It is a really powerful chant that every single activist that I have met, every march that I have been on, in every context that I have ever heard it sang, it always has been for the human rights and for the equal liberty of Palestinian people, as well as Israeli people, on the lands of Palestine and Israel, and that is what I have always taken it and understood it to mean and that’s what I think it does mean.

“And for anyone who is taking from that genocidal intent towards Israel, or about there not being a state of Israel, I think is misguided – that is not what the chant means.

“There’s just such double speak going on currently, in all areas around this conflict or this genocide more like … it really boggles the brain and, so, I feel like I am just trying to stay in the feelings in the emotions of what is happening.”

It comes after Church denied allegations of antisemitism during an Instagram live video on Monday, describing herself as “fighting for the liberation of all people”.

“I feel nothing has ever affected me more than what has been happening in the last couple of months, the struggle that I have been seeing, the loss of life; the death; the destruction; in some case really evil actions of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers; and for me, this is the greatest spiritual activism and quest certainly of my lifetime which I will not be deterred from.

“I feel so unbelievably to my core motivated to do as much as I possibly can, particularly to have a ceasefire.

“That is really all so many of us are calling for. Whatever the wider connotations, the complexities, please just stop killing innocent people, stop killing children.

“It is not a fringe opinion and it shouldn’t be a fringe opinion.”

Church said that she is going to attempt to make singing for liberation a bigger movement because “at its core it is peaceful, it is joyful, it is powerful”.

“People have been singing for freedom all over the world since time began and so I think it’s a very powerful form of protest which I am just absolutely overjoyed to be a part of to be honest,” she added.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The genocidal chant From The River To The Sea refers to the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, and only makes sense as a call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state — and its replacement with a Palestinian state. It is a call for the annihilation of half the world’s Jews, who live in Israel.

“Since October 7, when Hamas committed their barbaric terrorist acts, we have heard this chant on the streets of Britain during anti-Israel marches, accompanied by all manner of anti-Jewish racism.

“Singing From The River To The Sea is not standing up for human rights.

“At best, Charlotte Church has been tone deaf but, at worst she 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.”