Music

Two Lorde Fans Are Being Sued Because They Asked Her To Boycott Israel

The fans' response is perfect.

Late last year, just after Lorde announced a string of performances around the world, two New Zealand activists penned an open letter to the artist asking her to cancel the Israeli leg of her global tour. Now an Israeli organisation using a controversial anti-boycott law to sue the two women.

Nadia Abu-Shanab, a Palestinian whose family lives in the Israeli occupied West Bank, and Justine Sachs, a member of Dayenu, a Jewish organisation that opposes the Israeli occupation, wrote to Lorde asking her to back the artist boycott of Israel. They called on Lorde to express her opposition to the Israeli government’s “policies of oppression, ethnic cleansing, human rights violations, occupation and apartheid”.

Lorde ended up cancelling her performance in Israel, a decision that drew criticism from the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand and staunchly pro-Israel figures in the United States. Now Shurat HaDin, an Israeli non-government organisation, is suing Abu-Shanab and Sachs for the role they played in convincing Lorde to join the boycott.

The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of three Israeli teenagers who are claiming “moral and emotional injury” over Lorde’s decision. A law passed in 2011 allows Israelis to launch civil suits against anyone calling for a boycott of Israel, if they know it could lead to a boycott. The law has so far not been tested in court.

“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,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs. “They must be held to compensate Israeli citizens for the moral and emotional injury and the indignity caused by their discriminatory actions.”

When a journalist contacted Sachs to ask for her response to the lawsuit she responded with a Spongebob meme.

Sachs said the journalist’s enquiry was the first time she had heard of the lawsuit, and that she was “not convinced”. She later posted that both her and Abu-Shanab were seeking legal advice and would release a statement later today or tomorrow.

At a performance in New York City last week Lorde was heckled by a pro-Israel supporter. She was performing alongside Jack Antonoff, her co-executive producer on her album Melodrama, who responded to the heckler with “Fuck that negativity”.