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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Israeli fans sue activists over cancelled Lorde concert

Three teenagers take action through Israeli NGO on a 'legal offensive against Israel's enemies'

Lorde performs during the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year show honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York on January 26, 2018. Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Lorde performs during the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year show honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York on January 26, 2018. Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Three Israeli fans of Lorde are suing two activists who urged the New Zealand singer to boycott Israel and cancel a performance there.

The teenage girls, who had bought tickets to see Lorde's concert in June, are demanding 45,000 shekels (Dh48,400) from the two New Zealand activists who had pressured Lorde.

Lorde said in December that she would perform in Israel but later cancelled her show in Tel Aviv after criticism from international and New Zealand activists, saying she "didn't make the right call".

"I've received an overwhelming number of messages and letters and have had a lot of discussions with people holding many views, and I think the right decision at this time is to cancel the show," Lorde said when announcing the cancellation of her June 5 performance.

The suit was filed by Shurat Hadin, an NGO that says it is "using court systems around the world to go on the legal offensive against Israel's enemies", based on legislation from 2011 against calls to boycott Israel.

"We hope that the court will implement the law and rule damages to the plaintiffs, so boycott activists will know there's a price to any article or incitement against Israeli citizens," the group's director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said.

The movement behind the pressure on Lorde is known as BDS - Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions - and says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime to end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

In July, BDS activists failed to get Radiohead to call off its show in Tel Aviv despite heavy pressure from artists such as Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and director Ken Loach.

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism - a claim activists reject, saying it is an attempt to discredit them.

A US-based pro-Israel group accused Lorde of being part of a "global anti-Semitic boycott of Israel" in a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post in December.

The 21-year-old singer-songwriter's decision to cancel her Israel performance has received support from more than 100 fellow artists including Waters, John Cusack, Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno.

A few politically active musicians have called off shows in Israel over the past years, including Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello.

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Read more:

Statement about Grammy snub? Lorde wears feminist poem on dress

Brian Eno pens letter in support of Lorde's Israel boycott

Israel bans 20 activist groups from entering country

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