Welsh singer Charlotte Church defends 'From the River to the Sea' song at pro-Palestine concert

Welsh singer Charlotte Church defends 'From the River to the Sea' song at pro-Palestine concert
Charlotte Church has denied 'From the River to the Sea' was 'antisemitic' after she performed a version of the song at a pro-Palestine concert.
2 min read
27 February, 2024
Church has been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause [Getty]

Welsh singer Charlotte Church has defended singing a version of 'From the River to the Sea' during a pro-Palestine concert after being accused of alleged "antisemitism".

Church, 38, performed in the Welsh town of Caerphilly to raise money for the Middle East Children’s Alliance, an aid organisation that supports children in Gaza.

The singer led a choir of about 100 people in a rendition of 'From the River to the Sea', commonly heard at solidarity marches and refers to the area of historic Palestine between the River Tiberias and the Mediterranean Sea.

Activists say this is a call for justice and equality for all who live within these boundaries.

In a video posted online, Church can be seen wearing the Palestinian scarf, keffiyeh, as she stood by a banner that read "Let Palestine Live".

Critics say that the phrase 'From the River to the Sea' calls for the destruction of Israel, while the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and other rights activists contest this,

Broadcasting live on her Instagram channel on Monday, Church addressed "alarmist" reports on the event.

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"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.

"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 differences.

"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."

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

Church has been outspoken since the outbreak of Israel's war on Gaza, where over 29,700 people have been killed - mostly women and children.

In a post on X last month, she said was was "in tears daily" over the war, and felt she must "do more to organise, resist, oppose, fight like a lioness" for the Palestinians.