A lawsuit filed in Israel accuses two New Zealand activists of causing Lorde to cancel her planned performance in Tel Aviv, The New York Times reports. The suit may be the first to employ an Israeli law that forbids calling for boycotts of Israel.
The suit, which was filed on behalf of three teenagers who purchased tickets to the now canceled concert, is seeking 45,000 Israeli shekels (about $13,200) in damages from two defendants: Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab. No damages are being sought from the singer.
The suit may mark the first action filed under a controversial Israeli anti-boycott law, which allows civil suits to be brought by anyone who “can claim economic harm from a boycott against Israel, any of its institutions, or an area under Israeli control,” according to The New York Times.
In December, Sachs and Abu-Shanab wrote an open letter that was published on New Zealand website The Spinoff imploring Lorde to reconsider holding the concert, which was originally scheduled to take place June 5th as part of her 2018 world tour. The letter was among many calls requesting the singer reconsider performing in Tel Aviv. In the letter, Sachs, who is Jewish, and Shanab, who is Palestinian, wrote that they work together along with others “for peace and justice in the Middle East and an end to Israeli apartheid.”
Lorde responded to their letter via tweet. “Noted! Been speaking w many people about this and considering all options,” she wrote. “Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too.” A few days after their open letter was published, Lorde nixed the concert amid pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which opposes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages & letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show,” Lorde said in a statement at the time (via Jerusalem Post‘s Amy Spiro), adding, “Tel Aviv, it’s been a dream of mine to visit this beautiful part of the world for many years, and I’m truly sorry to reverse my commitment to come play for you. I hope one day we can all dance.”
Earlier this month, several artists and actors signed an open letter in support of Lorde’s decision, including Roger Waters, Peter Gabriel, Tom Morello, Brian Eno and Talib Kweli.