Melodrama continues as Israeli courts fine New Zealand activists

Two New Zealand women have been fined by an Israeli court for their role in singer Lorde cancelling her show in Tel Aviv.

Refusing to pay the fine, the women have instead raised thousands of dollars to donate to services in Gaza.

New Zealanders Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab wrote an open letter to Lorde last year, petitioning her to cancel her show.

The popstar responded positively, and days later cancelled her final show of her ‘Melodrama’ tour.

In January this year, Israeli law group Shurat HaDin filed an action on behalf of three minors who had bought tickets to the concert, citing mental harm, and demanding the activists pay NIS45,000 ($12,400 USD) plus court fees.

The minors had already been refunded their tickets.

The case relied on a 2011 Israeli anti-boycott law which allows for civil suits against any person or group who calls for a boycott of the Israeli state.

It is the first lawsuit to cite the controversial law, formed to oppose the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.

The BDS movement is a global campaign to peacefully protest Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

Israel claims the BDS movement is anti-Semitic � a claim activists reject strongly.

Both defendants have rejected the court’s ruling, and have instead used the attention to fundraise more than $22,400 USD for a mental health organisation in Gaza.

“Our advice from New Zealand legal experts has been clear: Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world,” the activists said in a statement Friday.

Sachs and Abu-Shanab said the legal action was “a stunt of which the sole intention is to intimidate Israel’s critics.”

It was not clear whether any such fine would be enforceable in New Zealand.

Waikato University law professor Alexander Gillespie said the case is about politics, and is doubtful it would hold up in New Zealand’s courts.

“In theory they can apply to the courts here to enforce their judgement, but it’s very unlikely that the judgement will be enforced because it’s completely contrary to our own laws, Gillespie said.

“This is political theatre. This is not really a legal issue; this is about a court in Israel trying to create a precedent.

New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little noted that it was extremely uncommon for a court in one country to make decisions which affect people in an entirely different jurisdiction.

“It does look to me like a political stunt – at least the legislation on which the court was operating was a political stunt – and it should be treated accordingly,” Little said.

Hundreds of artists have also previously participated in the cultural boycott of Israel including Brian Eno and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.

The movement is also growing in Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision contest, set to be held in Tel Aviv.

Source: Palestine Monitor