Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury provokes backlash with ‘from the river to the sea’ pro-Palestine tweet

Hamza Choudhury draped himself in a Palestinian flag after Leicester won the 2021 FA Cup – Getty Images/Marc Atkins

Hamza Choudhury has risked landing himself in hot water with his club Leicester City and the Football Association by posting the message ‘from river to sea’ on social media.

The Football Association are aware of the message posted on X and were on Monday night deliberating whether or not to take action, while Leicester were understood to be working on the matter with the player, who may seek to clarify his interpretation of the slogan.

Choudhury’s promotion of the controversial message came on the same day that Downing Street expressed concerns over the slogan, describing it as “deeply offensive.”

Pro-Palestine protesters have chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” during recent demonstrations, but the slogan has been branded anti-Semitic by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who has claimed that it is “widely understood” to call for the destruction of Israel.

Pro-Palestine protestors have contested this definition, but Choudhury’s message sparked a flurry of shocked and angry responses on X, formerly Twitter, with one user claiming to have reported him.

Former Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi was suspended by German club Mainz for posting pro-Palestine messages on social media – that was lifted on Monday when he distanced himself from the original post – while Arsenal warned their players over the reactions they could face after Mohammed Elneny posted a Palestine flag on X and Instagram.

Choudhury must now wait to find out whether or not he will face action from the FA or Leicester over his message, which followed a number of other pro-Palestine posts. The midfielder has modelled for adidas, who he lists in his X biography, but the German manufacturer on Monday night claimed he is not contracted to the company.

In 2021, Choudhury and his former Leicester team-mate Wesley Fofana, who now plays for Chelsea, escaped punishment for parading a Palestine flag on the Wembley pitch after winning the FA Cup.

The FA have already faced heavy criticism for their response to the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, having refused to light the Wembley arch in Jewish colours and after it emerged the organisation’s chair of the FA inclusion advisory board Deji Davies had posted inflammatory tweets of his own.

In 2013, Davies, who is managing director at JP Morgan and a director of Premier League football club Brentford, wrote on Twitter: “Boycotting European U21 tournament. Shouldn’t be being held in Israel at all. Certainly won’t be watching #FreePalestine.”

The emergence of the tweet caused outrage among senior figures in the Jewish community, but no action has been taken against Davies.

Failure to take any action against Choudhury could provoke more upset in the Jewish community, particularly after Downing Street expressed its own concerns over the ‘from the river, to the sea’ slogan.

Asked in a briefing with reporters about the chant, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We understand clearly this is a deeply offensive chant to many.

“And again, I think people need to be responsible with their use of language.

“Obviously it’s up to the police to make an operational decision about the use of that language if they see fit to do so, but I can understand how the use of that language and others will be of significant concern to many.”

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