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Israel fines New Zealand women $18,000 for urging Lorde concert boycott

Published: October 12, 2018
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Source: theguardian.com

An Israel court has ordered two New Zealand women to pay damages for harming the “artistic welfare” of three Israeli teenagers after the pop star Lorde cancelled a planned performance in Tel Aviv.

Judge Mirit Fohrer ruled that Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab of New Zealand must pay damages to Israeli teenagers Shoshana Steinbach, Ayelet Wertzel and Ahuva Frogel totalling more than NZ$18,000 for writing a letter urging the singer to cancel her concert in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Post reports.

It is believed to be the first effective use of a 2011 Israeli law allowing civil lawsuits of anyone who encourages a boycott of Israel.

The Israeli teenagers claimed their “artistic welfare” was damaged because of the cancellation and that they suffered “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”.

It remained unclear whether the claimants would be able to collect the cash. Legal experts said the judgement was not automatically enforceable under New Zealand law, and the chance of the women being compelled to pay damages was unlikely as they were not in Israel when they wrote the open letter and did not participate in the court process in any way. 

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Lawmakers in Florida have called for New Zealand singer Lorde’s upcoming concert to be canceled in protest of her support of the boycott against Israel, according to the New Zealand Herald. On Thursday, State Representative Randy Fine cited a Florida law that says no state or local government can conduct business exceeding $1 million with any organization engaged in a boycott of Israel.

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