Last December, Lorde, a pop star from New Zealand, found herself in the midst of controversy.
This week, two of her fans find themselves embroiled in an international lawsuit.
In the middle of last December, the singer announced several destinations that were scheduled to host concerts for her world tour: two major cities in Russia and Tel Aviv. It was the latter city which sparked some Twitter turmoil.
Reportedly, “within minutes of the tweet, the singer was hit with backlash over her decision to perform in Israel.” Social media users implored Lorde to take part in “an economic, intellectual and artistic boycott” against Israel for the nation’s alleged crimes and injustices perpetrated against the people living under the Palestinian Authority.
Two women, a Jewish New Zealander named Justine Sachs and a Palestinian New Zealander named Nadia Abu-Shanab, even went as far as publishing an open letter to Lorde requesting that she reconsider visiting Tel Aviv during her tour.
The letter, which portrays the Israeli government as equivalent to the apartheid state that maintained power in South Africa during the second half of the 20th century, and isolates Israel as the sole target for a boycott, perpetuates oversimplified and flawed premises regarding the complex dilemma between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
Even the letter’s conclusion – that “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” – can easily be argued against, for there are obvious differences between going to Tel Aviv to give a political rally in support of the Israeli goverment’s activities and going to the city to play a concert for international fans who have no connection to that city’s national government.
Nevertheless, when notified of this letter, Lorde took to Twitter with the following response: “Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too.” Shortly thereafter, the singer announced that she would be cancelling her show in Israel.
It’s important to point out that there were also fans who took to Twitter to persuade Lorde to keep her concert in Israel. Fans pointed out that major artists – such as Justin Bieber, Guns N’ Roses, Rod Stewart, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, Radiohead, Boy George, and Bryan Adams – played in Israel in 2017 despite facing similar calls to boycott the country.
This past week, Shurat HaDin, an Israeli NGO, filed a lawsuit against the two women who published the open letter. The NGO was filed this suit on behalf of three Israeli minors who had purchased tickets to Lorde’s now cancelled concert.
The lawsuit is reportedly seeking “about $13,000 in damages.”
The lawyer representing the plaintiffs provided the following explanation: “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.”
As pointed out by the Jerusalem Post, the lawsuit is being brought under the 2011 Israeli Anti-Boycott law, which “allows for civil suits against entities who call for a boycott of the state. The law has never been tested in court, according to the NGO.”
The two New Zealand women have yet to be summonsed, and they recently stated that, given the unsuccessful lawsuits previously initiated by the plaintiffs’ law firm and the support that they have subsequently received from people all around the world, they are not too concerned about this matter.
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