Three teenage Israeli fans of New Zealand musician and singer Lorde, are suing BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activists claiming they incited the singer to cancel a concert she was set to perform in Israel late last year, The Independent reported on Wednesday.
Filed on behalf of the teenagers by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law group, the legal proceedings target two New Zealand-based BDS activists, accusing them of being the main reason behind the concert's cancellation.
The activists, Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs, came to international attention in December 2017 after they co-wrote an open letter calling on Lorde to reconsider a concert she was scheduled to hold in the occupying state.
However, theirs wasn't the only one, as the singer said she had received an "overwhelming number of messages and letters" asking her to cancel her Tel Aviv tour date, which she later did.
Though many attacked Lorde's decision at the time, the responses weren't all negative. In fact, more than 100 international artists signed a letter in support of the singer's Israel boycott.
The first lawsuit to be filed under a controversial 2011 anti-BDS law
The legal group, Sharut HaDin, is currently suing the two activists for $13,000 in damages, on behalf of the "would-be concert goers."
According to The Independent, this appears "to be the first lawsuit filed under a contentious Israeli anti-boycott law," which was passed in 2011.
According to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Shurat HaDin's head and a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, the legislation has yet to be tested in an Israeli court "because proving a link between a boycott and a call for one is difficult."
However, she also expressed her confidence in the fact that things will be different in the case she's currently handling, claiming that there is overwhelming evidence that the activists deliberately and directly caused the concert's cancellation.
In her statement on the matter, the lawyer added:
“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.”
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"Palestinians should sue Israel for 70 years of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity"
The activists have since responded
In it, the activists said they have yet to receive summons or any legal notice in the case. They also called out the occupying state's attempts to undermine freedom of speech.
"The fact is, Israel is attempting to suppress those who dare criticise their human rights abuses. Israel thinks it can bully people into silence, recently passing a law banning organisations and individuals who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering the country," the letter read.
"Shurat HaDin, who have links to Israeli-state intelligence agency Mossad, are one example of a growing anti-democratic sentiment. The law firm have launched unsuccessful after unsuccessful lawsuit aimed at Israel’s critics," it added.
Even though they denounced the alleged lawsuit as "illegitimate," both activists said that even if they were to receive a legal notice in the case, it wouldn't deter them from fighting on for the Palestinian cause.
"No intimidation tactics can or will stifle this growing movement. The reality of the situation speaks for itself. Today we’ve been overwhelmed with supportive messages from across New Zealand and the world. New Zealanders value fairness and being able to think for ourselves as a country. We won’t be told what to say. Instead of scaring us, these bullying tactics only embolden us and make it self-evident that there is a right and wrong in this situation. We are proud to stand for what is right," they ended their letter.