Charlotte Church has been demonised by the press and on social media for organising a charity event for Palestine, and for appearing at the London march last Saturday. In a statement she said: “Yesterday I participated in the 10th national march for Palestine in London, in solidarity with our siblings in Palestine, as well as those at home, and for doing so I was called all manner of ungodly things online, often violent, misogynistic and racist. Some of those people had phrases like “whites will not be replaced” on their profiles, and images of iron eagles as banners. And I’m the extremist?!” 

Church became a Zionist target after she arranged an inter-faith event at Bedwas Working Men’s Club to raise money to buy a much needed ambulance for Gaza. To compound her ‘crime’ she sang the words “From the river to the sea” during the event.

The BBC, that bastion of illiberal coverage, then allowed one of its most senior presenters, Nick Robinson, to interview a celebrity who they had more than a hand in creating, Nigel Farage, and to ask him if Charlotte should be arrested.

Church’s statement continued: “A call for one group’s liberation does not imply another’s destruction, and those suggesting that it does when it is in fact that first group who are currently being murdered in their thousands, are leveraging a grotesque irony. I will not have my rhetoric around resistance and solidarity redefined by those who most violently oppose my democratic engagement.”

Both the BBC and the supposedly ‘liberal’ Guardian reported on these events with the headline ‘Charlotte Church Denies Antisemitism’. As did the, usually far more reliable, South Wales Argus.

At the the London march for Palestine she appeared on stage and encouraged the crowd to sing the phrases “Yma O Hyd”, meaning “We are here” and Sumud, meaning “Endurance”. If this had been at Glastonbury the BBC would have covered this for what it was, a very talented singer entertaining a crowd. But this was not Glastonbury, this was Hyde Park and so it is denounced as “naive” by Farage and all the media picked up that word.

The demonisation of Charlotte Church is accompanied by a form of misogyny that says young women (to be fair Charlotte is now 38 so young is a relative term here) who have made their name as singers, should not have an opinion. Though it has to be said that the same logic is applied to Gary Lineker who has spoken out, particularly on refugees. Apparently, he should stick to football say his critics on social media, who should themselves stick to painting by numbers judging by the quality of their contributions to the debate.

Church takes aim at David Baddiel, who, in a podcast with Baroness Warsi, mocked her activism. As she says: “Perhaps the superiority of being a self-proclaimed “public intellectual” has gone to his head, but Baddiel, as with Farage, is an all-too-common example of a professional opinion monger who resorts to tactics made to silence voices that dissent from his own. I am not the right sort of person to be discussing this in the eyes of Baddiel, Farage, Robinson, or any of the others, and the condescending manner in which my charitable work is being spoken of reeks of misogyny.”

But the demonisation of Charlotte Church has little to do with Gaza, or misogyny come to that, it is a warning to others not to do the same. It is noticeable that very few public figures have put their head above the parapet. Charlotte Church made a point on Saturday, when she had the platform, that she was all about ‘love’. Was this what Farage, who has only ever promoted hate, found naïve? Any other celebrity considering calling for a ceasefire was made aware that the consequences for them personally would be more than being insulted by the moronic, BBC-created right-wing poster boy, more than finding their family facing death threats, it would be the end of their careers. That is the point of labelling Church an antisemite, it is why the media and establishment are whipping up racist hatred towards her. It is not aimed at her specifically, it is for the benefit of any other artist or public figure who is considering calling for a ceasefire. Better to protect your career, say nothing and keep those contracts.

As Jonathan Cook noted when the BBC’s Emily Maitlis was censured for publicly criticising Dominic Cummings: “Thousands of BBC journalists contemplating doing real journalism learnt this week the price of disobedience. This episode tamed them a little more, ensured they understood a little more clearly that they are expected to be subservient to power.” In the same way, the public ‘shaming’ of Charlotte Church reminded other celebrities of the danger of using their fame for anything other than promoting the status quo. It reminds us of the limits of free speech and explains why so few celebrities are seen demanding a ceasefire.

For that reason we stand 100% behind Charlotte Church.

One thought on “In defence of Charlotte Church, free speech and love”
  1. I am not a fan of Charlotte Church, but stand beside her with her stance on the situation in Palestine, caused by the genocidal Israeli sate.

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