Israel court fines NZ activists over Lorde’s cancelled show
An Israeli court has ordered two New Zealand human rights activists to pay over US$12,000 in damages for helping persuade Lorde to cancel a performance in Israel.
Last year, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab penned an open letter asking Lorde to cancel her show in Tel Aviv as part of her Melodramatic tour.
Citing “occupation and apartheid” against the Palestinian people, the letter told the singer-songwriter:
“A performance in Israel sends the wrong message.
“Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation.
“Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music.”
Lorde acknowledged the letter and cancelled the show.
She tweeted on December 21, “Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me I am learning all the time too.”
Three Israeli fans sued, claiming that the cancellation caused emotional distress.
Their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin advocacy group, commented after the court decision: “No one can boycott Israel without paying for it.”
She said she would enforce the fine through “international treaties” and go after the women’s bank accounts, either in New Zealand or if they try to travel abroad.
In 2011, the Israel government passed a law that green-lighted civil legal action against anyone who called for a boycott against Israel.
The Lorde-related decision is the first time it’s been initiated.
In January, the women dismissed the lawsuit as “a hoax” and “ridiculous”.
They added: “No intimidation tactics can or will stifle this growing movement.”