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An Israeli law firm with close links to Mossad is suing two New Zealand activists who asked Lorde to cancel her Tel Aviv show.
Jewish New Zealander Justine Sachs and Palestinian New Zealander Nadia Abu-Shanab wrote an open letter to the musician after she scheduled tour dates in Israel, requesting she not break the the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign which protests Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The pair published the letter to Lorde in December 2017, outlining their opposition to her playing. They write: “In this context, 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. Such an effect cannot be undone by even the best intention and the best music.”
Lorde subsequently cancelled the show.
Now, Abu Shanab and Sachs who is a student at University of Auckland, are being sued by not-for-profit Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center. The centre, which works under the tagline “BANKRUPTING TERRORISM—ONE LAWSUIT AT A TIME” pursues cases in international courts against Israel’s enemies. It has previously named Palestinian authorities, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and North Korea as defendants in lawsuits it has brought.
The organisation has close links to Israeli intelligence organisation Mossad, according to the Law Centre’s head Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.
Darshan-Leitner told Reuters last year that after her law centre began suing Palestinians over attacks during a revolt in 2000, she was invited to Mossad headquarters for a consultation.
“I explained to them what we do, how and where lawsuits are filed, what evidence and jurisdiction is required, the general rules,” she said. “Their response was: What do we have to do to file more lawsuits? What do you need?”
Darshan-Leitner told Reuters that contact evolved into regular briefings with the agency.
In an interview with RNZ today, Darshan-Leitner told Morning Report the law group was arguing that the boycott movement was trying to destroy the state of Israel.
“It’s a movement that wants to harm the citizens of the state of Israel—and they have no idea what’s really going on here in Israel,” she said.
Darshan-Leitner said the cancellation was made due to false allegations, and the compensation lawsuit was claiming $US15,000 for mental harm to the teenagers who were hurt by the cancellation of the show.
The case has been filed under a 2011 Israeli law which allows civil lawsuits against people calling for a boycott of the country.
Sachs and Abu-Shanab say they are currently seeking legal advice and will release a statement in the coming days. When contacted by reporters regarding the lawsuit, Sachs responded with a Spongebob gif.