Israeli law group sues New Zealand activists for 'emotional injury' over cancelled Lorde concert
Three Israeli teenagers are suing the BDS activist pair who allegedly convinced pop singer Lorde to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv last month, for the ‘emotional damages’ caused by the show’s cancellation.
The Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin, who are representing the three teens, will use a controversial anti-BDS law for the first time since it was passed seven years ago, to claim roughly $13,000 of 'emotional damages' due to the cancellation of the pop singer's show, according to Israeli news site Y-Net News.
The contentious law, passed in 2011 as part of Israel's campaign against the BDS movement, allows civil lawsuits to be brought against anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel, if that call could knowingly lead to a boycott.
The New Zealand activist pair, consisting of Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, of Jewish and Palestinian heritage respectively, penned an open letter to the New Zealand singer in December, urging her to reconsider her decision to play in Israel, stating that the Tel Aviv concert would “be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation,” and asking her to “join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand.”
Their letter came alongside as a barrage of other calls for her not to play in Israel, a decision the popstar made after “speaking [with] many people” and “considering all options”, as she tweeted in response to the letter. Her decision to cancel the concert was met with both backlash and support, with over 100 artists signing a letter offering solidarity with the 21-year-old singer.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat HaDin and lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said on Wednesday, “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.”
Darshan-Leitner told The Guardian that New Zealand would be compelled to enforce the ruling due to agreements between the two states.
Shurat HaDin, who boast on their webpage to use “cutting edge litigation” and “ingenuity to apply domestic and international law to fight against those calling for boycotts and sanctions against the Jewish state”, has previously been linked to notorious Israeli spy agency Mossad.
In US cables leaked in 2010, Darshan-Leitner admits that the self-proclaimed “fully independent” group has acted as a proxy for the Israeli government and uses Mossad intelligence for its work, which mainly revolves around targeting and harassing Palestinian activists.
The legal group has pursued a range of controversial lawsuits, including targeting two Australian academics for taking part in an academic boycott of Israel, and attempting to sue Facebook $1 billion for ‘abetting’ Hamas activity using the platform.
Sachs tweeted on Wednesday saying she was unaware of any lawsuit, which she slammed as a “stupid stunt”.