Global News

Israeli group reportedly sue New Zealanders over Lorde boycott

Israeli group reportedly sue New Zealanders over Lorde boycott

A Jewish rights group said it was taking to court two New Zealanders who urged their compatriot, pop singer Lorde, to call off her Israeli concerts.

Two New Zealand citizens face legal action in Israel after Shurat HaDin, a Tel Aviv-based group protecting Jewish rights worldwide, filed a lawsuit against them on Tuesday, claiming they convinced Lorde to cancel her show, scheduled for June 2018.

Established in 2011, the law allows claimants to file civil suits against anyone calling for a boycott of Israel, including territories it occupies, if they know it could trigger a boycott.

The group, which filed the lawsuit in a Jerusalem court on Tuesday, is suing on behalf of three Israeli would-be concertgoers - Ayelet Wurtzel, Shoshana Steinbach and Ahuva Fogel - for about 13,000 USA dollars in damages.

The two women, Justine Sachs, who is Jewish, and Nadia Abu-Shanab, who is of Palestinian heritage, wrote an open letter to the singer previous year that called on her to "take a stand" against Israeli's policies towards the Palestinians.

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The letter was tweeted to the singer, who replied: "Noted! Thank u (you) for educating me i am learning all the time too".

But the law for Prevention of Damage to State of Israel through Boycott, which allows Israelis to sue anyone in any country in the world, is seen as one that stifles free speech, and although the activists took credit for show being canceled on social media, it will be hard to prove a direct link between their letter and Lorde's decision to call off the June 2018 show.

It seeks "real consequences to those who selectively target Israel and seek to impose an unjust and illegal boycott against the Jewish state". Following the concert cancellation Lorde was dubbed an anti-Jewish "bigot" in an advert in The Washington Post and heckled at a NY charity gig.

Sachs told the New Zealand Herald she had no further comment and added: "I've said all I wanted to say in the open letter".

It is seeking about £9,000 ($12,800) in damages on behalf of three teenage Lorde fans who it said suffered "emotional injury" as a result of the cancellation.


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