Usually when controversy occurs, its lifespan is rather contracted, remaining relevant for a few days or weeks at most, before dying down as people get back to their daily lives. However, another chapter in Lorde’s Israel concert saga has seen a lawsuit filed which could result in this whole episode lingering on for far longer than it should.
Back in December, it was reported that, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, authors of the New Zealand publication The Spinoff published an open letter in which they requested Lorde to reconsider her decision to perform a gig in Tel Aviv this June.
Titled ‘Dear Lorde, here’s why we’re urging you not to play Israel,” the publication noted that “a performance in Israel sends the wrong message. 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.”
The authors of the piece concluded their plea to Lorde by asking her to “join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand. Your voice will join many others and together we can and will make a difference.”
This soon saw Lorde admit she was reconsidering the performance, before it was reported that her concert had indeed been cancelled.
— Amy Spiro (@AmySpiro) December 24, 2017
This was met with widespread praise and criticism from many, with Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand announcing he’d like to talk to Lorde about a compromise, and a full-page ad being taken out in The Washington Post which called Lorde a “bigot” for her choices.
Now, Israeli concertgoers who feel they are hard done by in regards to this cancellation have filed a lawsuit in a Jerusalem court against the authors of The Spinoff that allegedly convinced Lorde to reconsider her decision.
As Stereogum notes, the lawsuit appears to be the first filed under an anti-Israel boycott law. Reportedly, the law allows civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel and its occupied lands.
Israeli legal rights group Shurat HaDin claims that the two authors, one Jewish and one Palestinian, were aware that their open letter could result in a boycott, and as such, have filed on behalf of three prospective concertgoers for $13,000 in damages.
“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 the group’s leader and lawyer for the plaintiffs, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. “They must be held to compensate Israeli citizens for the moral and emotional injury and the indignity caused by their discriminatory actions.”
Of course, while it remains to be seen what the outcome of such a lawsuit will be, the fact remains that it would be rather hard to work out whether or not the boycott is directly linked to the open letter written by the New Zealanders.
However Nitsana Darshan-Leitner feels this should be rather easy to prove, considering Lorde was only made aware of the issue following the open letter being brought to her attention, something which the authors reportedly “took credit” for, according to Stereogum.