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article imageIsrael court orders activists to pay fans over Lorde stayaway

By AFP     Oct 12, 2018 in Entertainment

An Israeli court has awarded three Israeli fans of singer Lorde more than $12,000 in damages, upholding their claims against two New Zealanders who urged the star to cancel a Tel Aviv show.

A copy of the judgement, given in a closed-door session of the Jerusalem magistrates court on Wednesday, was obtained by AFP on Friday.

The hearing was in camera as the three plaintiffs are all minors, who had bought tickets to see their New Zealand singing idol in Tel Aviv at a concert she announced in December.

But after criticism from activists in New Zealand and around the world, she cancelled the show, saying she "didn't make the right call" in her initial willingness to sing in Tel Aviv.

"The defendants will jointly pay the claimants the total sum of 45,000 shekels ($12,400, 10,700 euros)," the three-line document released by the justice ministry said.

It awarded a further 10,883 shekels in court and lawyers' fees.

The lawsuit was based on 2011 Israeli legislation against calls for a boycott of Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territory.

The defendants, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, wrote Friday on fundraising website givealittle that they had no intention of complying with the Israeli ruling.

"This morning we woke up to find Israeli courts have ordered us to pay over $12,000 in damages to three Israeli teenagers. They have allegedly suffered emotional distress as a result of our role in Lorde cancelling her planned concert in Tel Aviv," they wote.

"We will not be paying the court ordered amount. Instead, we would like to redirect the support extended to us back to Palestinians in need of mental health support."

"We’re launching this crowdfunding campaign with the hope of raising $12,000 (or more) for The Gaza Mental Health Foundation."

The main group pushing for artists not to perform in Israel is known as BDS -- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions -- and says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime.

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.

But the following month, American singer Lana Del Rey said she was "postponing" a planned September appearance in northern Israel while seeking to line up a parallel show for the Palestinians.

"It's important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally," she wrote on Twitter.

"Unfortunately it hasn't been possible to line up both visits with such short notice."

Her announcement followed a BDS campaign and a petition signed by 14,500 people saying that her performance would "cover up gross violations of human rights" and calling on her to cancel.

Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-Semitism -- a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.

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