New Zealand BDSers: We won’t pay Israeli court fine

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab said the ruling is 'a stunt of which the sole intention is to intimidate Israel’s critics'

October 12, 2018 13:15
1 minute read.
Lorde performs in Britain

Lorde performs on the Other Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival in Britain. (photo credit: DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS)


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Two BDS activists from New Zealand said Friday that they would not be paying the NIS 56,000 fine imposed on them  by an Israeli court this week.

"In a few short hours we’ve been overwhelmed with offers of financial support from New Zealand and around the world," wrote Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab on news site The Spinoff. "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 and support back to Palestine and those paying the heaviest price for Israel’s actions."

On Wednesday, a Jerusalem Magistrate's Court judge ruled in favor of three Israeli teenaged girls who sued Sachs and Abu-Shanab for their role in the cancellation of a Lorde concert in Israel.

Lorde, a New Zealand pop singer, announced in December that she would be playing in Tel Aviv in June 2018. Several weeks later, after an aggressive online campaign - including an open letter by Sachs and Abu-Shanab - Lorde canceled the show.

In January, the three girls and their lawyer, Shurat Hadin's Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, filed suit in a Jerusalem court against the two women, citing a 2011 Israeli anti-boycott law. The lawsuit argued that Sachs and Abu-Shanab's letter, which Lorde explicitly responded to on Twitter, played a role in the cancellation of the show.

The judge ordered the women to pay NIS 45,000 in damages - NIS 15,000 to each girl - and another approximately NIS 11,000 in legal fees. 

Darshan-Leitner said she believes Israeli and New Zealand legal agreements will allow her to pursue collecting the money from Sachs and Abu-Shanab.
The two women said local experts have told them otherwise.

"Our advice from New Zealand legal experts has been clear: Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world," they wrote. "They also continue to believe that this is a stunt of which the sole intention is to intimidate Israel’s critics. We agree but are heartened by their advice. We’ve contacted the relevant people in our government in the hope they can make it clear that New Zealand will not stand by and allow Israel to attempt to bully its citizens."

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