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Charlotte Church joins pro-Palestine rally despite backlash over protest chant

09 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Charlotte Church takes part in a pro-Palestine march in central London. Photo Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

Charlotte Church said she was spreading a “loving message” as she joined a pro-Palestine rally following a backlash she received for singing a protest chant at a fundraising concert in Wales last month.

The 38-year-old led a rendition of From The River To The Sea at a Sing For Palestine fundraising event,  which the Campaign Against Antisemitism called a “genocidal chant”.

On Saturday, the singer from Cardiff marched alongside thousands of protesters in central London calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Strong message

She told the PA news agency: “I am here today to call for an immediate ceasefire, to ask our Government and governments all over the world to send as strong a message as we possibly can.

“But a strong, a peaceful, a loving message, that’s what every single march that I’ve been on for Palestine has been about.

“There’s been singing, there’s been drumming, yes, there’s been emotion, but in the majority that emotion has been love, has been compassion because that’s why we’re all here.

“We’re all here because we cannot bear what we’re witnessing.

“We cannot bear to see civilians, children, women slaughtered.

“And so we are here because our hearts are so full of love for the Palestinian people.”

Church added: “We’re also showing that we are absolutely not going to tolerate our Government being a part of propping up an apartheid regime.

“We as citizens of the UK will not tolerate our Government being complicit in this.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) organised the protest, following the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7 in which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 kidnapped before Israel retaliated with months of attacks on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding thousands.

At the march demonstrators waved Palestine flags and carried banners which read “Stop the war on Gaza” and “Ceasefire now” as they walked from Hyde Park Corner to the US embassy.

It comes as the Government’s counter-extremism tsar warned that London’s streets have become a “no-go zone for Jews” during pro-Palestine protests.

Bedwas 

Following Church’s involvement at the fundraising event at Bedwas Workmen’s Hall on February 24, she told Novara Live that it was “misguided” to draw an inference of antisemitism from the pro-Palestinian chants.

“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,” she said.

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

Church added at the time: “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.”

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

However, the Jewish choir conductor who co-organised the fundraising concert, which attracted a sell out audience of 400, rejected the allegations.

Wendy Lewis, who has conducted Côr Cochion Caerdydd (Cardiff Red Choir) since 1987, said that was “absolute nonsense”.

She said: “It was the most positive life-enhancing event I’ve ever taken part in. The range of people who attended was very broad and included Muslims, Christians, Jews and others who came together to celebrate the ideas of peace and goodwill.

“Our hearts are heavy because of the slaughter of more than 29,500 people in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces since the invasion last October.”

She added: “There was a huge amount of energy flowing in the hall, and we had 30, then 50, then 100 people on the stage at once.

“As a Jew myself who has had family members killed in pogroms, I know very well what antisemitism is, and it wasn’t present at all in the workmen’s hall.”


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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
3 months ago

Has the government’s counter-extremism tsar asked all the various Jewish groups that attend the pro-Palestinian peace marches if they consider London’s streets to have become a “no-go zone for Jews”?

The government is deliberately whipping up fear and hysteria to clamp down on protests against the government (unless they can hijack them for political gain – you can only protest about issues we say you can protest about).

They are also implying that all Jewish people are in support of the israeli government, which is antisemitic!

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