Jerusalem Court Orders BDS Activists Behind Lorde's Cancellation to Pay Fan $12K

The lawsuit was based on the 'anti-boycott law' from 2011, which allows anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel to be sued for damages

Lorde performs at Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif, on April 16, 2017
Amy Harris / AP

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered two BDS activists from New Zealand to pay 45,000 shekels ($12,400) in compensation to three Israeli fans of the singer Lorde, who cancelled her June concert under pressure from the anti-Israel boycott movement, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

The singer from New Zealand cancelled this summer’s scheduled performance in December 2017, saying the decision was mostly the result of an open letter published on “The Spinoff” website by the two BDS activists. The two, Jewish New Zealander Justine Sachs and Palestinian New Zealander Nadia Abu-Shanab, wrote: “Playing in Tel Aviv will be seen as giving support to the policies of the Israeli government, even if you make no comment on the political situation."

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“Since 1967, Israel has militarily occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza strip. The occupation is considered an affront to international law and Israeli settlements in the area explicitly violate the Geneva Convention. The military occupation of Palestinian territories has resulted in an apartheid state,” they wrote.

After the cancellation, attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the nonprofit Shurat Hadin Israeli Law Center that fights against BDS and terror financing, sued Sachs and Abu-Shanab in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court for 45,000 shekels in the name of the three fans.

The lawsuit was based on the “Anti-Boycott Law” from 2011, which allows anyone or who calls for a boycott of Israel or Israeli institution to be sued for damages. The fans had bought tickets to the concert and were “seriously disappointed from the cancellation of the show, which they claim was done illegally and for improper motives,” said Darshan-Leitner. 

Asked how a decision by an Israeli court might affect activists who live in New Zealand, the attorney said, “There is a treaty between Israel and New Zealand on enforcing judgments, so the decision by an Israeli court will affect those activists.”

The concert was slated to take place at the Tel Aviv Convention Center on June 5.