WTF: Israeli Rights Group Sues New Zealanders Who Urged Lorde to Boycott Concert

January 31, 2018

An Israeli legal rights group has said it is suing two New Zealanders for allegedly convincing the pop singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel, in what appears to be the first lawsuit filed under a contentious Israeli anti-boycott law.

Key points:

Israeli law allows courts to impose damages against anyone calling for boycott of Israel

Group claims the New Zealanders knew their letter to Lorde could trigger a boycott

Shurat HaDin is suing on behalf of three would-be concertgoers for about $16,000 in damages

The 2011 law opens the door to civil lawsuits against anyone calling for a boycott against Israel, including of lands it has occupied, if that call could knowingly lead to a boycott.

The law, which is part of Israel’s fight against a global movement calling for boycotts against the Jewish state, allows for courts to impose damages against defendants.

Critics said the law would stifle free expression.

The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, penned an open letter to Lorde last year in which they urged her to “take a stand” and “join the artistic boycott of Israel”.

The New Zealand singer-songwriter replied to a tweet of the letter saying “Noted! Been speaking [with] many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too”.

She cancelled her show days later.

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