New Zealand activists respond to reported ‘lawsuit’ from Israeli group following Lorde boycott

A legal rights group in Israel is reported to have launched the challenge following Lorde's decision to cancel a show in Tel Aviv last year

Two New Zealand activists who are reportedly being sued by an Israeli rights group following Lorde‘s decision to cancel a scheduled gig in Tel Aviv have issued a response to news of the reported lawsuit.

News of the lawsuit emerged yesterday (January 31), with New Zealanders Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab reportedly the subject of a legal challenge from the law group Shurat HaDin. Sachs and Abu-Shanab wrote an open letter to Lorde last year asking her to “take a stand” and “join the artistic boycott of Israel” by cancelling her Tel Aviv show, which the artist appeared to recognise on social media shortly before axing the gig.

Shurat HaDin are said to be acting on behalf of three potential concertgoers – who are seeking approximately £9,150 in damages – in accordance with an Israeli anti-boycott law which has set a precedent for people calling for boycotts against Israel to have civil lawsuits filed against them.

Sachs and Abu-Shanab have responded to news of the legal action today (February 1) by claiming that they were yet to receive any summons or formal notice, adding: “On this basis, as far as we are concerned, this ‘case’ has no legitimacy.”

“Still, Shurat HaDin has gone to the media alleging to be suing us on behalf of three ticket holders who are seeking $13,000 in damages, some of which is for the ‘moral and emotional injury’ they suffered from being denied Lorde’s concert. We all loved ‘Melodrama’, but really?” the statement asks.

“The fact is, Israel is attempting to suppress those who dare criticise their human rights abuses. Israel thinks it can bully people into silence, recently passing a law banning organisations and individuals who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering the country.

Lorde

Lorde

“Shurat HaDin, who have links to Israeli-state intelligence agency Mossad, are one example of a growing anti-democratic sentiment,” the statement later alleges, adding: “Israel’s unapologetic disregard for freedom of speech won’t wash with New Zealanders either.”

“With our open letter to Lorde we joined a chorus of millions of people across the world who are calling for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine,” it concludes. “Instead of scaring us, these bullying tactics only embolden us and make it self-evident that there is a right and wrong in this situation. We are proud to stand for what is right.”

You can read Sachs and Abu-Shanab’s statement in full here.

On stage in New York last week, Lorde was heckled by an audience member for her decision.