Pair refuse to pay fine for cancelled Lorde gigs

Lorde performing in Washington DC earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images
Lorde performing in Washington DC earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images

The two New Zealand women ordered to pay over $12,000 in damages for allegedly helping persuade pop singer Lorde to cancel a performance in Israel say they will not pay - instead they are raising money to help Palestinians.

The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, had appealed to the singer in an open letter to "join the artistic boycott of Israel". Lorde acknowledged the letter and cancelled her show days later.

Three Israeli ticket holders filed the suit, claiming the cancellation had caused emotional distress. Their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, says the decision sends a message that boycotting Israel carries a price.

In a statement issued on Twitter this afternoon, Sachs said they would not be coughing up the cash but instead would be raising money for a charity in Gaza.

"We've been overwhelmed with offers of financial support from New Zealand and around the world.

"We will not be paying the court ordered amount. Instead, we would like to use the publicity surrounding Israel's stunt to return the attention to Palestine," she wrote.

"We're launching a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise​ $12,000 (or more) for The Gaza Mental Health Foundation which financially supports the work of incredible grassroots organisations such as The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.

"The foundation will send donations in their entirety to organisations which are providing vital mental health support to the traumatised families of the Gaza Strip.

"Emotional distress is a lived reality for Palestinians in Gaza, where ​over half of children suffer PTSD​ as a result of Israeli attacks. We are inspired always by Palestinians in their pursuit of basic human dignity."

The page was set up today and had already raised more than $2000.

She also took the opportunity to call for the New Zealand Government to cut diplomatic ties and "economic relations" with Israel.

"The ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the brutality of the occupation should be enough to convince you but if not Israel has shown contempt for New Zealand law and democracy and I urge the Labour-led government to respond strongly."

The suit against the pair was filed under a law that allows civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel. Thursday's ruling is believed to be the first time the 2011 law has been applied.



I wonder if the mental harm suffered by innocent Palestinian civilians who are regularly bombed and shot by Isreali Defence Forces has been addressed as vigorously as the poor girls who missed the concert.

You're probably right about the distress not being equal, but by cancelling the concert one says: "Some Lorde fans who live in Israel are terrorists, therefore all Lorde fans who live in Israel are terrorists." That's the kind of thinking we're trying to remove from our modern mindset. It's racism: racial stereotypes are prejudices - they increase division instead of solving issues. I've NO idea where that leaves humour...

I'm all for removing the idea that "Some Lorde fans who live in Israel are terrorists, therefore all Lorde fans who live in Israel are terrorists," as Lorde's withdrawal from the concert is not about her Isreali fans but about the actions of the Israeli government. To cite racism as a factor to undermine a legitimate protest is both wrong and underhand. Would you apply the same claim of 'racism' to the delegates who are withdrawing from the Future Investment Initiative in Suadi Arabia as a protest against the recent actions of their security services.

Refusing to work together adds to more separation, not solutions.
At times every government has to choose separation because the other side won't co-operate, but separation is still the worst possible outcome.
Any blanket statement (in itself a blanket statement!) is a prejudice, whether necessary or not.
A government cares very little if a given artist appears in their country or not, so it's a gesture of little value- applied against and hurting only the people who support said artist. Trade embargoes hurt a lot more, but they're still bully tactics.

Having said all that, it was a childish abuse of the legal system to sue someone because one felt offended: the charges do not in any way reflect the financial loss of three concert tickets, and it's an abuse BY a legal system to pass judgement without including the defence.
Of course the charges won't be paid... empty punishments are being thrown about like cot toys in response to empty punishment.
Raising funds for Mental Health is a constructive approach to things, so the exercise hasn't been a loss.