13 Oct 2018

'A little bit bizarre' to fine women for Lorde's show cancellation

2:49 pm on 13 October 2018

The New Zealand activists being fined in Israel for the cancellation of Lorde's concert earlier this year have found support from an unlikely source.

New Zealand singer Lorde.

New Zealand singer Lorde. Photo: AFP / Yomiuri

Lorde cancelled her concert after Justine Sachs, a Jewish New Zealander, and Palestinian woman Nadia Abu-Shanab, wrote an open letter to the pop star asking her to join the artistic boycott of Israel.

A court in Israel has ordered Ms Sachs and Ms Abu-Shanab to pay almost $19,000 in damages.

The Israeli Institute co-director Dr David Cumin said the ruling could set a dangerous precedent.

"We understand the importance of being able to voice even extreme and discriminatory ideas and at the end of the day it was Lorde who decided to cancel her concert and to hold two Kiwis responsible for that seems a little bit bizarre."

Dr Cumin said from his perspective, he believed dealing with people's opinions with facts rather than legal arguments was a better way to handle a situation like this one.

"This is essentially an Israeli hate speech law [established in 2011], like hate speech laws in Canada or Australia.

"The intention of it is to be against the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) campaign that is discriminatory, it is based on lies and it is against peace.

"Even so, the people advocating for it shouldn't be censored."