1 July 2024

artistsforpalestine.org has just published the important report below.

Top Artists Join Campaign to End UK Arms Sales to Israel

Award winning British artists – Juliet Stevenson, Khalid Abdalla, David Calder, Charlotte Church and Maxine Peake – have released a series of short films, ‘Stop Arming Israel’, calling for “an end to Britain’s role in killing Palestinians”, ahead of the UK elections.

The five hard-hitting films are the result of a collaboration between Artists for Palestine UK, Global Action Legal Network (GLAN) and Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq. GLAN and Al-Haq have launched a legal action against the UK government to suspend weapons sales to Israel.

The films:

This campaign is part of a global movement of Palestinians, cultural figures, civil society and legal experts who are pressing the UK government to end the export of weapons and weapon parts to Israel.

The films build on the call last month from over 100 leading cultural figures, including Oscar and BAFTA-winners, who want Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to commit to stop arming Israel if elected Prime Minister on 4 July.

In November 2023 Global Action Legal Network (GLAN) and Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq  launched legal action against the UK government to suspend weapons sales to Israel. On 23 April 2024, the court challenge was revived and expedited by the High Court.  The hearing of the legal challenge is confirmed for 8-10th October 2024.  In the lead up to the hearing, artists are continuing to call for an immediate halt to all weapons exports to Israel.

Dearbhla Minogue, GLAN Senior Lawyer and case lead said:

“People of conscience everywhere are utterly tormented by the cruelty of what Israel is doing to Palestinians in Gaza, and the feeling that they cannot stop it.  But artists, lawyers and citizens can join forces to make real change. It is very heartening to have the support of such an esteemed group of artists because it is reflective of the conscience of wider society in the U.K., which is miles away from the callous world of governmental decision-making. This legal action should never have been necessary – but sadly it has had to happen, and our lawyers are working around the clock to bring this travesty to an end. I hope people will join us and spread the word.”

Actress Juliet Stevenson said:

“It has been horrifying to watch the brutality that is unfolding in Gaza to the Palestinian people, and without any meaningful action from our government to prevent this genocide. To date, over 37,000 civilians have died, 57 percent of whom are children – and a further 3000 children have lost one or more limbs to Israeli bombs. To know that our tax money is being used by the UK government to support this inhumane slaughter is utterly abhorrent. We urgently need to hear the call to take a stand…..the massacres must end, and we must stop contributing to them.”

Actor Khalid Abdalla said:

“Surely the Britain we dream of, that involves real change, is one in which British arms are not being sold to countries that commit war crimes in plain sight, killing and maiming thousands of children. The evidence against Israel is clear, and the highest courts in the world have confirmed a plausible genocide in Gaza. It is now the turn of the British courts and people of conscience everywhere to uphold the world our politicians are failing.”

Singer-songwriter and actress Charlotte Church said:

“We are seeing an unprecedented movement of culture workers globally, rising up to support Palestinian liberation and we will be unrelenting until this is achieved. Cultural organisations and creatives of all sectors are questioning how we fund the arts, the ethics of taking sponsorship from corporations and financial companies invested in arms and technologies driving this genocide. We must use this momentum to inspire accountability from our governments and leaders to end our complicity in genocide and suspend weapons sales to Israel now!”

Artists for Palestine UK said of its collaboration with the legal team:

“As Palestinians are burned alive in their makeshift tents, British weapons still flow to Israel. Our government is complicit in starvation and in slaughter. Thousands of artists have already spoken out against this complicity and will continue to do so until they see change. We are delighted to support the efforts of GLAN and Al-Haq to shine the light of accountability on UK policy.”

Leading Artists to Keir Starmer: Commit to Stopping Arms Sales to Israel

Over 100 leading cultural figures in Britain, including Oscar and
BAFTA-winners, have called on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to commit to stop
arming Israel if elected Prime Minister on 4 July.

Signatories to the letter include Oscar-winning actor Riz Ahmed and director
Asif Kapadia, singer Paloma Faith, actors including BAFTA-winning Steve
Coogan, Miriam Margolyes OBE, Paapa Essiedu, Dame Harriet Walter, Joe
Alwyn and Lena Heady.

The call comes amid an escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which
recently saw Israeli strikes on a designated ‘safe area’ in Rafah kill over 50
civilians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing
arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and
crimes against humanity.

The letter calls on Starmer, as a former human rights lawyer, to lead the way in “ending UK complicity in war crimes in Gaza” by stopping arms sales to Israel.

The move would follow in the footsteps of states like Spain, which have
halted arms sales in the wake of the atrocities in Gaza.

Read the letter in full:

“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

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

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


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

Ayo Akinwolere Broadcaster

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

Francesca Martinez Comedian, Writer

Gauranga Varia   Artist

Gillian Slovo   Writer

Gina Birch   Musician/ Artist

Gloria Dawson   Writer

Graham Hastings, Young Fathers    Musician

Guy Aitchison Scholar, Politics & International Studies

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

Joe Alwyn Actor

Jon Hopkins Musician

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

Sabrina Mahfouz Writer

Saoirse Amira Anis  Artist, Producer

Sarah Reygate   Make-up artist

Sarah Shamash   Filmmaker

Sean Biggerstaff  Actor

Shirley Manson Musician

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