Israel fines New Zealand women $18,000 for urging Lorde concert boycott
Judge rules ‘artistic welfare’ of three Israeli teenagers was harmed by actions of Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab
By Eleanor Ainge Roy | 11 October 2018
THE GUARDIAN — An Israel court has ordered two New Zealand women to pay damages for harming the “artistic welfare” of three Israeli teenagers after the pop star Lorde cancelled a planned performance in Tel Aviv. …
It is believed to be the first effective use of a 2011 Israeli law allowing civil lawsuits of anyone who encourages a boycott of Israel. …
In December 2017 the Grammy winning New Zealand pop star Lorde cancelled her planned June 2018 concert in Tel Aviv after a social media campaign sparked by an open letter from Sachs and Abu-Shanab. …
“I have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde wrote at the time, adding: “I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one.”
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Shurat HaDin NGO, who filed the suit called the ruling “precedent-setting”. … “We will enforce this ruling in New Zealand and go after their bank accounts until it has been fully realised.”
In a joint statement on Friday, Sachs and Abu-Shanab said they had been flooded with offers of financial assistance from around the world to help pay the damages, but had no intention of doing so. Instead, the women have started a crowdfunding page to raise funds for The Gaza Mental Health Foundation.
“Our advice from New Zealand legal experts has been clear: Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world,” the statement read.
“They also continue to believe that this is a stunt of which the sole intention is to intimidate Israel’s critics … We’ve contacted the relevant people in our government in the hope they can make it clear that New Zealand will not stand by and allow Israel to attempt to bully its citizens.”
At the time that calls for the boycott began, Lorde said she had received an “overwhelming number of messages and letters” regarding the issue.
“Dear Lorde … we’re two young women based in Aotearoa, one Jewish, one Palestinian,” wrote Sachs and Abu-Shanab in their open letter.
“Today, millions of people stand opposed to the Israeli government’s policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid. As part of this struggle, we believe that an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott is an effective way of speaking out against these crimes. This worked very effectively against apartheid in South Africa, and we hope it can work again. […]