In December, following pressure from activists, Lorde decided to cancel a planned concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, a decision that prompted responses from Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand, and hecklers. Now, the conversation is entering legal waters: The Associated Press reports that Israeli rights group Shurat HaDin is suing Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, the two New Zealanders they accuse of convincing Lorde to cancel the show.
Days before canceling the show, Lorde responded to an open letter from Sachs and Abu-Shanab asking her to “join the artistic boycott of Israel,” writing 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.”
As for the lawsuit, it appears to be the first filed under a 2011 Israeli anti-boycott law that, according to the Associated Press, “opens the door to civil lawsuits against anyone calling for a boycott against Israel, including of lands it has occupied, if that call could knowingly lead to a boycott.” Shurat HaDin filed the lawsuit in a Jerusalem court on Tuesday, on behalf of three would-be Israeli concertgoers, for around $13,000 in damages.
Shurat HaDin’s Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said of the lawsuit:
“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 for the defendants, Sachs is reportedly unaware of any lawsuit against her.
Meanwhile, other artists have approached performing in Israel differently than Lorde has. For example, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds performed in the country last year, and Cave said it “very important to make a stand, to me, against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians and to silence musicians.”