Israel lawfare group sues New Zealand activists over Lorde cancellation

Mossad-linked Israel lawfare group is suing two New Zealand activists who urged pop singer Lorde to cancel her Tel Aviv gig. (DeShaun Craddock)

An Israeli lawfare group tied to the Mossad – Israel’s deadly spy agency – is suing two New Zealand activists for “influencing” pop singer Lorde to cancel her Tel Aviv gig in late December.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who is the lead attorney in the case, is the president of Shurat HaDin, the group behind the suit.

Shurat HaDin is nominally suing on behalf of three Israeli teenagers who claim they are suffering “emotional injury” after learning that Lorde had canceled her concert.

They are seeking thousands of dollars in damages against the activists.

The lawsuit is being filed in Israel under a 2011 law that allows people to sue those who call for a boycott of Israel or its illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The law is part of Israel’s effort to stifle speech and activism in support of Palestinian rights.

In December, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab wrote an open letter to Lorde, urging the New Zealand singer to reconsider her planned performance in Tel Aviv.

After news of the lawsuit broke, Sachs told The New Zealand Herald newspaper she had no comment, adding “I’ve said all I wanted to say in the open letter.”

She later tweeted that she and Abu-Shanab were “seeking legal advice and also going about our everyday lives because we have better things to do.”

Sachs added that they would issue a statement “when ready.”

In their open letter to Lorde in December, the activists had noted the Israeli army’s killings and injuries to hundreds of Palestinians protesting US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the military detention of Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi and members of her family.

“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 activists stated.

Four days later, Lorde announced she had canceled her gig, calling it “the right decision.”

“Price to pay”

Since the targeted activists are in New Zealand, and were exercising their free speech rights there, it is difficult to see how any Israeli judgment could be enforced.

Darshan-Leitner said that the suit is meant to show that “there is a price to pay for boycotting Israel” and that Israel “will fight back” against activists who advocate for the boycott.

Tellingly, Darshan-Leitner conceded to Australian media that this suit is a “test” even in Israel because proving a link between a boycott and a call for one is difficult.

Smear campaign

Following her cancelation of the Tel Aviv concert, Israel supporters took little time to excoriate and ridicule Lorde, while Israeli politicians begged her to meet with them to discuss what the Israeli foreign ministry has termed the “hate agenda” of BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

Shmuley Boteach, the self-styled “America’s rabbi,” took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post accusing Lorde of joining a “global anti-Semitic boycott of Israel.”

Using a common smear tactic to condescend toward artists who choose not to cross the international picket line, Darshan-Leitner said Lorde was not a “bad person,” but claimed she was simply “uneducated,” “just influenced by others” and “leaned toward the argument from one side.”

Lorde, whose newest record was nominated for album of the year at last weekend’s Grammy Awards, has not yet reacted to the lawsuit against the activists.

Bullies

Shurat HaDin’s bullying tactics are part of Israel’s well-financed campaign of repression aimed at silencing advocates of Palestinian rights, particularly in the BDS movement.

Its intimate links to Mossad exposes its litigious hunting of Palestine solidarity activists around the world as part of a repressive state’s effort to silence critics.

Also known as the Israel Law Center, the group is notorious for attacking Palestine solidarity organizations with frivolous lawsuits.

Darshan-Leitner has personally called for aggressive military action to be taken against the International Criminal Court should it ever hold any suspected Israeli war criminal, and has boasted that Shurat HaDin was directly responsible for bankrupting Gaza.

In 2011, journalist Max Blumenthal discovered that a major funder for Shurat HaDin was John Hagee, the anti-Semitic Christian Zionist American mega-pastor.

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Comments

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If anything, this law suit will make the BDS movement stronger and now more people around the world will become aware of it because of the media publication...

What normal person files a law suit for no reason, knowing in advance it cannot be enforced, thus providing a free publicity gift to the other side ?

By the way, the whole idea of a democracy is that people are free to express their views without intimidation or fear of prosecution. Let alone, when the subject matter is a heretical state whose existence is forbidden by the Jewish religion, yet claims it represents Jews/Judaism for no valid reason !

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So, just wondering, has Israel paid the price yet for the identity theft mossad carried out a short while back?

Or is this just more stunning cowardly hypocrisy?

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Such arrogant attacks on the foundations of democracy indicate wha we have all known for a long time, this Israel is not a democay and has no use for one. Every attempt will simply backfire on them. People do not want their rights attacked in this way. #hame on those local governments who go along with this travesty. Israel has never been and cannot be a democracy whoever it stifles Palestinian Rights.

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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).