Israeli group reportedly sue New Zealanders over Lorde boycott

The singer cancelled a previously announced show in Tel Aviv due to the political situation in the country

An Israeli legal rights group are suing two New Zealanders for allegedly convincing Lorde to cancel her scheduled performance in Tel Aviv.

An anti-boycott law introduced in the country in 2011 means people calling for boycotts against Israel can have civil lawsuits filed against them, with damages able to be imposed on those named in the suits.

One such suit has been filed against Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, two Jewish and Palestinian New Zealanders. The pair wrote an open letter to Lorde last year asking her to “take a stand” and “join the artistic boycott of Israel”.

The letter was tweeted to the singer, who replied: “Noted! Been speaking [with] many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me I am learning all the time too.” Shortly afterwards, Lorde announced she would no longer be visiting Tel Aviv as part of her ‘Melodrama’ world tour.

Now, Shurat HaDin is suing the women on behalf of three potential concertgoers for approximately £9,150 in damages, as Stereogum reports. The group claims that Sachs and Abu-Shanab knew that their letter could provoke a boycott.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer representing the concertgoers and the head of Shurat HaDin, said: “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.”

The law has not yet been tested in court because, the lawyer said, proving a link between a boycott and a call for one is often difficult. She noted that that is not the situation in this case, claiming Lorde only spoke doubtfully about performing in Tel Aviv after reading the open letter, and that the women who wrote it “took credit” for her cancellation on social media.

However, Sachs said when contacted by the website that she had no knowledge of any lawsuit.

Lorde was called a “bigot” in a full-page advert taken out in The Washington Post after announcing the cancellation of the concert. On stage in New York last week (January 24), she was also heckled by an audience member for her decision.