Rock stars Peter Gabriel and Bobby Gillespie urge arms embargo on Israel

Peter Gabriel, formerly of the rock band Genesis, wants an end to the military trade between Israel and Britain. (Joi Ito)

The rock star Peter Gabriel and film-maker Ken Loach are among 21,000 people who have signed an open letter to David Cameron, the British prime minister, demanding an immediate halt to the arms trade between the UK and Israel.

The letter was delivered today, directly to Cameron’s residence at 10 Downing Street in London by Loach and three members of parliament — Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Jim Fitzpatrick.

Prominent signatories included fashion designer Bella Freud,  journalist and activist Jemima Khan, musicians Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, Brian Eno and Bryan Adams, the writers Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Esther Freud, Laura Bailey and William Dalrymple, and the actors David Morrissey, Maxine Peake and Alexei Sayle.

Academics Karma Nabulsi (a PSC patron), Ghada Karmi and Steven Rose and human rights lawyer Geoffrey Bindman also signed the letter.

The letter was posted on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s website earlier this week and gathered 21,000 signatures in just two days.

Speaking outside Downing Street today, Hugh Lanning of the PSC said: “Our aim is to stop the Israeli government getting military aid and equipment from the British government. Our aid and arms help kill innocent Palestinian civilians. We need to isolate apartheid Israel now and impose sanctions now.”

Israeli war machine

In two weeks, Israel’s air, land and sea assault has massacred close to 900 Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 200 of them children. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated today that at least 42 families in Gaza have had three or more members killed in the same incident since 7 July, resulting in 253 fatalities.

In an email message to the PSC, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, wrote: “Our hearts and love are with the Palestinian people. We support their continuing fight for human rights and dignity and righteous resistance to Israeli imperialism, occupation and war crimes.”

Jemima Khan said: “Where is the world-wide uproar? Shame on our leaders who would speak up if this were happening to any other country on Earth.” Bella Freud spoke of the upcoming demonstrations across Britain on Saturday: “We will not stop protesting until Gaza is free.”

Jeremy Corbyn told journalists today: “The UK has a very close relationship with Israel, including buying and selling arms, and it’s time that this relationship was brought to an end since Israel is now under investigation for war crimes over the bombing of Gaza.

“I received an email from Dr. Mads Gilbert, working in Shifa hospital [in Gaza City], and it brought tears to my eyes when he was describing the pools of blood, the electricity cut off, the lack of clean water and the continuous surge of the dead and injured pouring into the hospital. It’s people like that who are saving lives, and Israel which is taking lives.”

Ken Loach told reporters: “It’s disgraceful that our government is arming the State of Israel to continue its slaughter of civilians, of women and children. Everyone must be devastated by the sight of the maimed and the dead in Gaza, and everyone must direct their anger towards the Israeli war machine.”

Last Saturday, 100,000 people marched through the streets of London, from Whitehall to the Israeli embassy in Kensington, protesting the massacre in Gaza.

The PSC and other organizations, including the Palestinian Forum in Britain and Friends of Al Aqsa, have called another march and rally in London tomorrow, which will demand an end to the arms trade with Israel.

Protesters will gather at the Israeli embassy at midday and march to the Houses of Parliament. Children’s author and poet Michael Rosen, comedian Jeremy Hardy and guitarist and music producer Dave Randall will be among those addressing the closing rally at Parliament Square.  

And protests will be taking place around the UK and Ireland in support of Gaza on the same day, demanding not just an end to Israel’s current slaughter, but complete freedom and justice for Palestine.

Updated 26 July to add some signatories’ names and quotes from Khan and Freud.




It is good to know there are moral people out there in the world and ones with the courage to stand up for the Palestinians. There are going to be a lot of surprised "Christians" waking up in hell one day for not living as taught by Jesus.


Thanks to all the beautiful caring humane folk who who marched and are disgusted and sickened by this slaughter, apparently backed by our so called free western society leaders. We may have freedom of movement (albeit under cctv) but our minds will never be free from the guilt of this atrocity imposed by our capitalist governments


Hope these twits we employ get the message. Haven't heard any of them denouncing Israel in the slightest.


It gave a great pleasure that atleast someone among the European countries have highlighted the issue of Gaza. I was thinking that humanity has died but it gave me a hope that still there are people who are thinking of the people around the globe irrespective of religion. The US attitude towards the issue is shameful and disgusting,being a developed & powerful country it should have stopped the massacre earlier. There are families who have lost oll the members in the massacre but still there are thousands who can b saved by bringing a change in our attitude..


Deep in my heart I do believe that we shall over come to Free Gaza one day.
Thanks to all this people who are supporting their brothers and sisters in Palestine.
It's our duty to stand up together all the countries as one against the injustice, apartheid and war.
Shame on our leaders who are only a passif spectator watching this inhuman show of Israeli government, some of them(our leaders) waking up early in the morning and making money in trade of weapons with Israeli Government, and some of them sleeping on their armchairs open-eyes with the mention ''please don't disturb'' because their only and unique problem is to protect them selves from their own people, they are afraid of loosing ''the power''.
Thanks to all who are doing good things for this World, and calling us to open our eyes and to stand up together and support the Palestinian people on their straggle against Israeli government.
Long life to all this people and long life to ''our Love Palestine''.
Don't worry we are coming soon together as one.


Leaders need to open their eyes and not be blinded by greed and power , how would they feel if it was their own child or family member be blown up to peices . I hope peace comes soon , thanks to all the supporters of all nationalities coming together as one


Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people with the approval of the US, the EU and de United Nations! The lifes of women and children are on sales now ?!!! What the fuck is that world that we living ?! #PortugaliswithPalestine #freepalestine


Our politicians are in the main an utter disgrace and their silence in the face of murder will not be forgotten., Hopefully extreme Zionism will now be seen for the utterly evil creed that it is!


Build BDS into a mass campaign. Take it to unions, social sector groups, church groups and student organistions. Promote through leaflets, posters, meetings and rallies. Push for a tourist, consumer, academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

Amena Saleem

Amena Saleem's picture

Amena Saleem is a journalist and activist. She has twice driven on convoys to Gaza and spent seven years working for Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK.