These are the 100+ cultural figures who have demanded Keir Starmer ends arms sales to Israel

They've asked the Labour leader to "take a stand against the ongoing atrocities committed by Israel".

Steve Coogan, Riz Ahemd, Miriam Margolyes, Aisiling Bea

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:

  1. Aisling Bea   Writer, Actor, Comedian
  2. Alia Alzougbi   Artistic Director
  3. Alycia Pirmohamed   Poet
  4. Amar Chebib    Filmmaker
  5. Andrew Milk   Musician
  6. Anna Shaffer   Actor
  7. Asif Kapadia   Film Director
  8. Bella Freud   Fashion Designer
  9. Bilal Hasna   Actor
  10. Brigid Keenan   Writer, Journalist
  11. Camilla Whitehill   Writer
  12. Cara Theobold   Actor
  13. Cathy Reay   Author
  14. Catrin Evans   Theatre Director
  15. Chardine Taylor-Stone    Musician
  16. Charlotte Church   Singer
  17. Claire Kohda   Author, Violinist
  18. Courttia Newland   Writer
  19. Crystal Bennes   Artist
  20. Dan Hancox   Author
  21. David Sylvian   Musician, Artist
  22. Emily Berry   Writer
  23. Esther Wakelin-Stotten   Art teacher, DJ
  24. Eyal Sivan   Filmmaker
  25. Farah Nabulsi   Filmmaker
  26. Fatima Bhutto   Writer
  27. Florence To   Artist
  28. Frances Stacey   Curator
  29. Gauranga Varia   Artist
  30. Gillian Slovo   Writer
  31. Gina Birch   Musician/ Artist
  32. Gloria Dawson   Writer
  33. Graham Hastings, Young Fathers    Musician
  34. Hanna Flint     Critic, Author, Presenter
  35. Harriet Walter   Actor
  36. Hassan Akkad   Author, Filmmaker
  37. James Harker   Playwright
  38. Jayce Salloum   Filmmaker
  39. Jazz Cook   Editor, Writer
  40. Jen Brister   Comedian
  41. Jenna Jarvis   Writer
  42. Jo Hauge  Artist
  43. Jo Kali   Music education
  44. John Smith   Artist Filmmaker
  45. Jolyon Maugham KC   Director, Good Law Project
  46. Joseph Donald   Artist
  47. Julia Jackman   Filmmaker
  48. Juliet Stevenson   Actor
  49. Khalid Abdalla   Actor
  50. Kamila Shamsie   Writer
  51. Katie Holten   Artist, Author
  52. Kerrie Ann Murphy / BEARCAT      DJ
  53. Kieran Yates   Author
  54. Lara Pawson   Writer
  55. Lena Heady     Actress, Writer, Director
  56. Leo Kurunis    Musician
  57. Lisa Moorish   Singer songwriter
  58. Lolly Adefope   Actor
  59. Lucy Bailey   Theatre Director
  60. Lucy Moss    Theatre Writer/Director
  61. Luis Jacob   Artist
  62. Luke Rollason   Actor
  63. Lynne Segal   Writer
  64. Maggie Steed  Actor
  65. Máiréad Tyers   Actor
  66. Marina Warner   Writer
  67. Maxine Peake   Actor
  68. Megan Prescott    Actor
  69. Michael Rosen   Writer, Broadcaster
  70. Mike Leigh   Film Director, Writer
  71. Mike Lerner   Filmmaker
  72. Mikeala Loach   Author and climate justice activist
  73. Milly Zero   Actor, Producer
  74. Miriam Margolyes   Actor
  75. Mirza Waheed   Writer
  76. Misan Harriman   Photographer
  77. Nadia Sawalha   TV Presenter
  78. Niall Buggy    Actor
  79. Niall Tessier-Lavigne    Artist
  80. Nicholas Wright   Writer
  81. Nikesh Shukla   Writer
  82. Omar Robert Hamilton    Writer
  83. Paapa Essiedu   Actor
  84. Paloma Faith   Musician
  85. Pam Hogg   Fashion Designer
  86. Pauline Melville    Writer
  87. Penny Woolcock   Filmmaker
  88. Peter Collins   Graphic designer, Publisher
  89. Peter Kennard   Artist
  90. Phyllida Lloyd   Film Director
  91. Pratibha Parmar   Filmmaker
  92. Reneé Griffin   Musician
  93. Riz Ahmed      Actor, Musician
  94. Rob Myatt       Literary translator
  95. Robert Del Naja   Artist, Massive Attack
  96. Robyn Slovo   Producer
  97. Rowan Lear   Artist
  98. Ruth Lass Actor
  99. Saoirse Amira Anis    Artist, Producer
  100. Sarah Reygate   Make-up artist
  101. Sarah Shamash   Filmmaker
  102. Sean Biggerstaff  Actor
  103. Shze-Hui Tjoa   Author
  104. Simon Manyonda   Actor
  105. Sophie Monks Kaufman   Author
  106. Steve Coogan   Comedian, Screenwriter, Actor
  107. Steve Skaith   Songwriter, Latin Quarter
  108. Suleiman Rimi   Actor
  109. Susan Wooldridge   Actor, Writer
  110. Tai Shani   Artist
  111. Tobia Grieco   Filmmaker, Creative Executive
  112. Tobias Menzies   Actor
  113. Toby Marlow  Composer, Writer, Actor
  114. Tom Cullen     Actor, Director
  115. Topher Dagg   Circus Technician
  116. Tracey Seaward   Film Producer
  117. Vanessa Jackson   Artist
  118. Victoria Brittain   Writer
  119. Will Attenborough      Actor
  120. Yara Rodrigues Fowler   Author
  121. Yasmin Fedda   Filmmaker
  122. Yo Zushi    Journalist

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

Image credit: Gordon Correll / Gage Skidmore / / mattbuck

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