Daily Left News

More than 100 leading culture figures have called on the Labour leader Keir Starmer to commit to end arms sales to Israel if he becomes prime minister after the general election. The group, which includes Oscar-winning actor Riz Ahmed and the singer Paloma Faith, has sent an open letter to Starmer calling on him to “take a stand against the ongoing atrocities committed by Israel“.

The letter – coordinated by Artists for Palestine – is the latest pressure on Starmer over Labour’s position on Gaza. It comes as earlier this year Spain and Belgium moved to suspend arms sales to Israel.

The full text of the letter reads: “We, the undersigned, write to urge you to take a stand against the ongoing atrocities committed by Israel and commit to stopping arms sales to Israel should you become Prime Minister.

“In just eight months, more than 35,000 people have been murdered by Israel. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s top court, has ordered Israel to “immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah.” Yet, Israel has disregarded this ruling and bombed a designated “safe space” 60 times in 48 hours, resulting in the deaths of entire families. 

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu currently faces arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

“Continuing to sell arms to a country whose leader is accused of such grave violations of international law is morally reprehensible.

“Countries like Spain have already taken action by halting arms sales to Israel. It is time for the UK to follow suit and demonstrate its commitment to human rights and international law.

“Polls suggest that you are likely to become the next Prime Minister, winning with a promise of “change.” As a former human rights lawyer, you have a unique opportunity to bring about meaningful change by ending UK complicity in war crimes in Gaza. You would be well supported: a majority of the British public supports ending arms sales to Israel.

“The UK must no longer remain complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people. By suspending arms sales to Israel, particularly while its leader faces arrest warrants from the ICC, you can send a clear message that the UK will not tolerate human rights abuses and will stand up for the oppressed.

“Sir Keir, we urge you to seize this opportunity to bring about real change and demonstrate your commitment to justice and human rights. The lives of countless Palestinians depend on leaders like you taking a principled stand.”

Among the other high profile figures to sign the letter are the actors Steve Coogan and Miriam Margolyes.

The full list of signatories is as follows:

Aisling Bea   Writer, Actor, Comedian

Alia Alzougbi   Artistic Director

Alycia Pirmohamed   Poet

Amar Chebib    Filmmaker

Andrew Milk   Musician

Anna Shaffer   Actor

Asif Kapadia   Film Director

Bella Freud   Fashion Designer

Bilal Hasna   Actor

Brigid Keenan   Writer, Journalist

Camilla Whitehill   Writer

Cara Theobold   Actor

Cathy Reay   Author

Catrin Evans   Theatre Director

Chardine Taylor-Stone    Musician

Charlotte Church   Singer

Claire Kohda   Author, Violinist

Courttia Newland   Writer

Crystal Bennes   Artist

Dan Hancox   Author

David Sylvian   Musician, Artist

Emily Berry   Writer

Esther Wakelin-Stotten   Art teacher, DJ

Eyal Sivan   Filmmaker

Farah Nabulsi   Filmmaker

Fatima Bhutto   Writer

Florence To   Artist

Frances Stacey   Curator

Gauranga Varia   Artist

Gillian Slovo   Writer

Gina Birch   Musician/ Artist

Gloria Dawson   Writer

Graham Hastings, Young Fathers    Musician

Hanna Flint     Critic, Author, Presenter

Harriet Walter   Actor

Hassan Akkad   Author, Filmmaker

James Harker   Playwright

Jayce Salloum   Filmmaker

Jazz Cook   Editor, Writer

Jen Brister   Comedian

Jenna Jarvis   Writer

Jo Hauge  Artist

Jo Kali   Music education

John Smith   Artist Filmmaker

Jolyon Maugham KC   Director, Good Law Project

Joseph Donald   Artist

Julia Jackman   Filmmaker

Juliet Stevenson   Actor

Khalid Abdalla   Actor

Kamila Shamsie   Writer

Katie Holten   Artist, Author

Kerrie Ann Murphy / BEARCAT      DJ

Kieran Yates   Author

Lara Pawson   Writer

Lena Heady     Actress, Writer, Director

Leo Kurunis    Musician

Lisa Moorish   Singer songwriter

Lolly Adefope   Actor

Lucy Bailey   Theatre Director

Lucy Moss    Theatre Writer/Director

Luis Jacob   Artist

Luke Rollason   Actor

Lynne Segal   Writer

Maggie Steed  Actor

Máiréad Tyers   Actor

Marina Warner   Writer

Maxine Peake   Actor

Megan Prescott    Actor

Michael Rosen   Writer, Broadcaster

Mike Leigh   Film Director, Writer

Mike Lerner   Filmmaker

Mikeala Loach   Author and climate justice activist

Milly Zero   Actor, Producer

Miriam Margolyes   Actor

Mirza Waheed   Writer

Misan Harriman   Photographer

Nadia Sawalha   TV Presenter

Niall Buggy    Actor

Niall Tessier-Lavigne    Artist

Nicholas Wright   Writer

Nikesh Shukla   Writer

Omar Robert Hamilton    Writer

Paapa Essiedu   Actor

Paloma Faith   Musician

Pam Hogg   Fashion Designer

Pauline Melville    Writer

Penny Woolcock   Filmmaker

Peter Collins   Graphic designer, Publisher

Peter Kennard   Artist

Phyllida Lloyd   Film Director

Pratibha Parmar   Filmmaker

Reneé Griffin   Musician

Riz Ahmed      Actor, Musician

Rob Myatt       Literary translator

Robert Del Naja   Artist, Massive Attack

Robyn Slovo   Producer

Rowan Lear   Artist

Ruth Lass Actor

Saoirse Amira Anis    Artist, Producer

Sarah Reygate   Make-up artist

Sarah Shamash   Filmmaker

Sean Biggerstaff  Actor

Shze-Hui Tjoa   Author

Simon Manyonda   Actor

Sophie Monks Kaufman   Author

Steve Coogan   Comedian, Screenwriter, Actor

Steve Skaith   Songwriter, Latin Quarter

Suleiman Rimi   Actor

Susan Wooldridge   Actor, Writer

Tai Shani   Artist

Tobia Grieco   Filmmaker, Creative Executive

Tobias Menzies   Actor

Toby Marlow  Composer, Writer, Actor

Tom Cullen     Actor, Director

Topher Dagg   Circus Technician

Tracey Seaward   Film Producer

Vanessa Jackson   Artist

Victoria Brittain   Writer

Will Attenborough      Actor

Yara Rodrigues Fowler   Author

Yasmin Fedda   Filmmaker

Yo Zushi    Journalist

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Gordon Correll / Gage Skidmore / CelebHeights.com / mattbuck

The post These are the 100+ cultural figures who have demanded Keir Starmer ends arms sales to Israel appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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