More ‘river to the sea’ whitewashing from the BBC

On the afternoon of February 26th a filmed report appeared in the ‘updates’ section of the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page under the title “Charlotte Church: ‘I am in no way antisemitic’”.

That filmed report consists entirely of a monologue taken from the Instagram account of a Welsh singer with a penchant for dabbling in politics. Its synopsis tells BBC audiences that:

“Charlotte Church has denied accusations she is “antisemitic” after singing at a pro-Palestinian concert.

The singer faced backlash after she led a 100-strong choir in a rendition of From the River to the Sea.

It references the land between the River Jordan, bordering the occupied West Bank and Israel in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

Critics say it calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

The Palestinian [sic] Solidarity Campaign and other activists contest this, saying the slogan refers to “the right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality and justice”.

The Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a Jewish-led pro-Palestinian campaign group, includes a version of the chant in its mission statement: “We picture Palestinians — from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea — living with their inalienable rights respected.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism has previously said the “River to the Sea” chant is deeply offensive and threatening.

It accused the singer of “anti-Jewish racism” and has called for the Charity Commission to investigate.”

That video, along with the same references to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and JVP, appears in a written report by Catriona Aitken of BBC Wales which was published on the BBC News website’s ‘Wales’ page on February 26th under the headline “Charlotte Church denies antisemitism after pro-Palestinian chant”.

“The singer faced backlash after she led a 100-strong choir in a rendition of From the River to the Sea at a concert.

It references the land between the River Jordan, bordering the occupied West Bank and Israel in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

Critics say it calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other activists contest this, saying the slogan refers to “the right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality and justice”. […]

However, the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a US group which calls itself a “progressive Jewish anti-Zionist” organisation, includes a version of the chant in its mission statement: “We picture Palestinians — from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea — living with their inalienable rights respected.””

Neither of those reports provides BBC audiences with any information concerning the record and agenda of the quoted Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Readers and viewers are not told that it is one of the organisations behind the anti-Israel demonstrations in the UK since the war began or that immediately following Hamas’ October 7th invasion of Israel, rocket attacks and perpetration of massacres exceptional in scale and cruelty, the PSC chose to ‘contextualise’ the terror organisation’s actions by blaming Israel:

This, however, is not the first time that the BBC has chosen to ignore the PSC’s virulently anti-Israel – and antisemitic – record in order to promote it as some sort of authority on the meaning of the slogan ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’. Readers may recall that in October 2023, the BBC’s religion editor told BBC audiences that:

“The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which helps organise the demonstrations, contests this interpretation of that particular chant, saying the slogan refers to “the right of all Palestinians to freedom, equality and justice”.”

As we noted at the time:

“Maqbool of course makes no effort to inform BBC audiences of the highly relevant fact that LGBT, female, Christian and politically dissident Palestinians who currently live under the rule of either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority do not enjoy such rights or to explain why that fact is clearly is not of concern to the PSC.”

Similarly, the BBC’s citation of the fringe American organisation ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ completely ignores its record of apartheid smears, support for terrorists, promotion of boycotts of Israel and its blaming Israel and the US for the October 7th massacre.

Aitken’s report includes the following quote from Church, which also appears in the filmed report: [emphasis added]

“She 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 difference.

“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.””

At the bottom of Aitken’s report readers are told that “Church has been contacted for comment” but whether or not that includes a request for clarification regarding the identity of the supposed “powers that be” (given that the objections cited in the BBC’s report come from a Jewish organisation and a rabbi and the notion of ‘Jewish power‘ is a well-known antisemitic trope) is not made clear.

With regard to the event concerned, Aitken tells readers that:

“The event took place on Saturday, 24 February at Bedwas Workmen’s Hall, Caerphilly county, to raise money for Middle East Children’s Alliance, which supports children in Gaza.

Church was joined by Palestine Solidarity Cymru and 100 singers.”

The BBC fails to inform readers that the organisation concerned – MECA – has engaged in anti-Israel political activity such as fundraising for George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’, supporting the ‘Great Return March’ and promoting BDS.

MECA’s staff includes Dr Mona Al-Farra – director of Gaza projects – who managed to write a post on October 7th which completely erased the Hamas massacre on the same day that is the context to what she described as “the Israeli bombardment”. She and other members of MECA’s staff have ties to a Palestinian NGO formerly known as UHWC (now called AWDA) which is linked to the PFLP terrorist organisation. In 2019, MECA partnered with UHWC to raise funds for “medical aid to Palestinians under siege in Gaza” and “provide fuel for Al-Awda hospital” which is run by that PFLP affiliated NGO.

In other words, had Aitken done her homework, BBC audiences would have understood that the fundraiser in which Church participated benefits an anti-Israel organisation that cooperates with an NGO linked to a terrorist group: a fact which makes the inclusion of a slogan used by terrorists to deny Jewish self-determination at the event distinctly more understandable.

Instead of providing background information which is obviously highly relevant to this story, Aitken however chose to focus on whitewashing the meaning of a call for the eradication of Israel.

Related Articles:

BBC RELIGION EDITOR WHITEWASHES ‘FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA’ CHANT

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2 Comments

  1. says: Neil C

    Charlotte Church obviously just has no conscience or moral values otherwise she would not be singing such garbage #defundthebbc

  2. says: Grimey

    Whilst Islam uses British “tolerance” to inflict its intolerant campaigns onto the British public – aided by the BBC and antisemitic media such as The Grauniad – Judaism proves its tolerance by not acting similarly. If such a laudable and peaceful policy is ignored or goes unappreciated, maybe it’s time for an adjustment ?

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