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Lawsuit against activists who called on Lorde to cancel Israel show dismissed as “a hoax”

By | Published on Friday 2 February 2018


Two New Zealand-based activists have claimed that a lawsuit apparently launched against them for calling on Lorde to cancel a show in Israel is “a hoax”.

After Lorde announced plans to play a show in Tel Aviv later this year, Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs wrote an open letter to her last month asking her to “take a stand” and “join the artistic boycott of Israel”.

The musician replied to them on Twitter: “Noted! Been speaking [with] many people about this and considering all options. Thank you for educating me, I am learning all the time too”.

Days later, the show was cancelled. It is that initial exchange which is now apparently the subject of a civil lawsuit in Israel.

On Tuesday, Israeli civil rights group Shurat HaDin announced that it had filed a lawsuit in Jerusalem on behalf of three teenage Lorde fans. The suit demands damages for “moral and emotional injury”.

In a statement, the lawyer representing the teenagers, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said: “These girls are ideologists. They are going into the army next year, and they feel very shamed and hurt by the allegations that the New Zealand activists blamed Israel for. They want to say on a personal and an international level, that those who boycott Israel or make a call to boycott Israel will be responsible and they have to pay”.

Abu-Shanab and Sachs have nonetheless dismissed the case as “a hoax”.

In a post on Medium, they write: “Yesterday we heard rumours we were allegedly being sued by Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin. We believed this was a hoax, after receiving the news secondhand from a journalist. We have not received any summons or other formal notice. On this basis, as far as we are concerned, this ‘case’ has no legitimacy”.

“Our New Zealand friends and colleagues at work today were incredulous at news of our rumoured legal predicament”, they continue. “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 [Lorde’s latest album] ‘Melodrama’, but really?”

They went on to accuse Shurat HaDin of being “one example of a growing anti-democratic sentiment” in Israel. They also mention other lawsuits launched by the organisation that have proven unsuccessful “because they have no legal means nor jurisdiction to control what people can and cannot say about Israel abroad”.

Shurat HaDin has not commented further.