No Play, You Pay: Israeli Court Rules Against NZ Activists for Lorde Cancellation

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - APRIL 05: Lorde performs on stage during the 2014 Lollapalooza Brazil at Autodromo de Interlagos on April 5, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Two New Zealand women have been ordered by an Israeli court to pay  damages for allegedly persuading pop singer Lorde to cancel a show in Israel.

The suit was filed under a local law allowing civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for a boycott against the Jewish state. Wednesday’s ruling is believed to be the first time the 2011 law has been applied.

The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, had appealed to the singer in an open letter to “join the artistic boycott of Israel.” The court has ordered they now pay over $12,000 in restitution for their actions.

The 21-year-old “Royals” singer was due to perform in Tel Aviv in June 2018 but canceled the concert after the two began their push on behalf of the global anti-Israel BDS campaign, the hard-left movement which advocates for financial and cultural boycotts of Israel.

As Breitbart News reported, numerous social media users at the time called attention to the fact that Lorde’s two planned concerts in Russia would still go on as scheduled, accusing the singer of hypocrisy for supposedly canceling the Israel show for human rights reasons.

Three Israeli ticket holders filed the suit, claiming the cancellation had caused emotional distress. Their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat HaDin advocacy group, says the decision sends a message that “no one can boycott Israel without paying for it.”

It remained unclear whether her clients would be able to collect the cash. Darshan-Leitner said she intended to enforce the judgment through “international treaties” and go after the women’s bank accounts, either in New Zealand or if they try to travel abroad.

The move comes in the same year former Beatle Ringo Starr confirmed he was happy to defy anti-Israel critics and go ahead with a concert in the Holy Land.

Other performing artists have done likewise, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Radiohead, and Sir Paul McCartney, the latter having disregarded death threats to play to an audience of 400,000 people in Tel Aviv in 2008.

AP contributed to this report

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