Israeli Court Imposes $12K Fine on New Zealand BDS Activists Who Convinced Singer Lorde to Cancel Her Show

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An Israeli court awarded damages of $12,3600 USD to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a pair of New Zealand activists who wrote an open letter asking the singer, Lorde, to cancel her concert in Israel as evidence of support for the BDS (boycott, divestiture and sanctions) campaign against the Jewish state for its occupation of Palestine. Israeli lawyers said that the ruling makes it clear that anyone who calls for a boycott against the State of Israel could find themselves liable for damages and will be forced to pay compensation to those hurt by the boycott call. The law firm will try to enforce this ruling in New Zealand and go after the activists’ bank accounts until full damages have been paid. Legal experts doubt that enforcement will be possible, because Israel is not one of the countries listed in New Zealand’s Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act. -GEG

Two New Zealand activists who urged Lorde to to cancel her concerts in Israel says they were surprised when they were told an Israeli legal group was suing them.

A pair of Kiwi activists who wrote an open letter asking Lorde to cancel a concert in Israel have been fined almost NZD$19000 by an Israeli court.

However it is not clear whether that fine will be at all enforceable in New Zealand, as the prosecuting lawyer intends to attempt.

Justine Sachs and Nadia¬†Abu-Shanab wrote the open letter to New Zealand singer¬†Lorde¬†on¬†The Spinoff¬†after she planned a concert in Israel,¬†asking her to reconsider the concert given Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor) cancelled her shows in Israel after acknowledging an open letter from two Kiwi women urging her to Boycott the Jewish country.

‚ÄčLorde, real name Ella¬†Yelich¬†O’Connor,¬†responded to the letter on Twitter and eventually cancelled her concert.

Israeli law group Shurat HaDin filed a suit on the behalf of three minors who had bought tickets to the concert in January, demanding NIS15,000 (NZ$6330) for each of the minors. The minors had already been refunded their tickets.

The case relied on a controversial 2011 which allows for civil suits against any person or group who calls for a boycott of the Israeli state.

Sachs¬†is a¬†masters student at the University of Auckland and¬†the co-founder of the group “Dayenu: New Zealand Jews Against Occupation” while Abu-Shanab is a teacher and activist based in Wellington.

The Associated Press reported on Friday the charge had been successful, and the two activists had been fined NIS45,000 plus NIS11,000 in legal fees, for a total of around $23,500.

Sachs told¬†Stuff¬†on Friday that the ruling “further demonstrates¬†how Israel has become something that doesn’t even closely resemble a liberal democracy and only validates the necessity of the [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement to exert external pressure on an apartheid state whose democratic institutions have collapsed.”

IN a now deleted tweet, Lorde pulled back on her decision to play Israel.
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LORDE/TWITTER

IN a now deleted tweet, Lorde pulled back on her decision to play Israel.

It was not clear whether any such fine would be enforceable in New Zealand.

Shurat HaDin lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told the Jerusalem Post that New Zealand and Israel and have a legal agreement that would allow the court to pursue the damages.

“This decision makes it clear that anyone who calls for a boycott against the State of Israel could find themselves liable for damages and need to pay compensation to those hurt by the boycott call, if they’re in Israel or outside it,” Darshan-Leitner told the paper.

“We will enforce this ruling in New Zealand, and go after their bank accounts until it has been fully realised.”

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