The plaintiffs, teenage girls who had bought tickets for Lorde’s June concert, are demanding 45,000 shekels ($13,176, 10,626 euros) from the two New Zealand activists who had pressured Lorde.
Lorde had in December announced her intention to perform in Israel, but after criticism from international and New Zealand activists, announced she was cancelling the show, saying she “didn’t make the right call” in her initial willingness to sing in Tel Aviv.
The suit was filed by Shurat Hadin, an NGO “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,” Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement.
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 and is seeking an 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 firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.
A few politically active musicians have called off shows in Israel over the past years, including Lauryn Hill and Elvis Costello.