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Israeli civil rights group sues over Lorde cancellation

Two New Zealand women being sued by Shurat HaDin on behalf of three disappointed ticket buyers, after writing an open letter urging Lorde not to play in Tel Aviv

By Jon Chapple on 31 Jan 2018

Lorde, Governors Ball 2017, DeShaun Craddock

image © DeShaun Craddock

An Israeli NGO is suing two New Zealanders for allegedly influencing Lorde to cancel a planned show in Tel Aviv in June, in what is believed to be first lawsuit filed under Israel’s new anti-boycott law.

Shurat HaDin is representing three teenagers who had bought tickets to the concert, which was called off in December under pressure from the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The two defendants, Palestinian Arab Nadia Abu-Shanab and Jew Justine Sachs, both BDS activists, wrote an open letter to Lorde (pictured) prior to the cancellation saying that if the New Zealand singer played the show it “would be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation”.

Israeli’s anti-boycott law (in full, the Law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott), introduced in 2011, makes it a civil offence to call for an economic, cultural or academic boycott against a person or entity because of any perceived affiliation to Israel, and is intended to apply to anyone, regardless of nationality.

“This lawsuit is an effort to give real consequences to those who selectively target Israel”

The three plaintiffs are seeking ₪15,000 (US$4,400) each in damages.

Shurat HaDin head Nitsana Darshan-Leitner tells the Associated Press: “This lawsuit is an effort to give real consequences to those who selectively target Israel and seek to impose an unjust and illegal boycott against the Jewish state.

“They must be held to compensate Israeli citizens for the moral and emotional injury and the indignity caused by their discriminatory actions.”

After being made aware of the lawsuit, Sachs declined to comment, but did later tweet: “Israel [is] the only ‘democracy’ in the Middle East where New Zealanders get sued for exercising their freedom of speech… in New Zealand.”


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