Artists urge Starmer to halt arms sales to Israel if he becomes PM

In a letter coordinated by Artists for Palestine UK, Starmer was urged to “demonstrate (the UK’s) commitment to human rights and international law” by suspending arms sales to Israel if he wins the general election.

Artists urge Starmer to halt arms sales to Israel if he becomes PM

Riz Ahmed, Keir Starmer, and Steve Coogan (Photo credit: GettyImages)

By:
Mohnish Singh

More than 100 British celebrities, including actors Riz Ahmed and Steve Coogan, have urged Labour leader Keir Starmer to “take a stand against the ongoing atrocities committed by Israel” in Gaza, The Guardian reported on Sunday.

In a letter coordinated by Artists for Palestine UK, Starmer was urged to “demonstrate (the UK’s) commitment to human rights and international law” by suspending arms sales to Israel if he wins the general election.

Other signatories include actresses Miriam Margolyes, Juliet Stevenson, Harriet Walter, Lena Headey and Maxine Peake, singer Paloma Faith, director Mike Leigh, and author Michael Rosen.

“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,” the letter read. “The UK must no longer remain complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people.”

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

The letter comes as UK government ministers announced they have found “no reason” to suspend weapons exports to Israel after reviewing the most recent three-month period of the war on Gaza.

The letter adds to the pressure already exerted on the Labour leader by London mayor Sadiq Khan, Scotland’s Labour leader Anas Sarwar, and over 50 Labour members of parliament who have urged that the UK government stop supplying Israel with weapons.

The letter highlighted that over 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been “murdered” by Israel since Oct. 7.

A Labour spokesperson told The Guardian: “Labour has repeatedly called on the government to publish at least a summary of the legal advice around arms sales, given our serious concerns over the horrifying scenes in Gaza. We have been clear that the government must uphold both our domestic and international legal obligations when it comes to arms exports. If Labour wins the election, we will assess the most up-to-date legal advice and we will act on what it says.”