We have been punished because the singer cancelled a Tel Aviv concert. This attempt to distract from the broader picture won’t work
An Israeli court this month ordered us to pay NZ$18,000 (£9,000) in damages for harming the “artistic welfare” of three Israeli teenagers. This ruling came after New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde heeded the call of activists, including a letter from the two of us, and cancelled her show in Tel Aviv. The teenagers claimed they suffered “damage to their good name as Israelis and Jews”; their legal action was possible because of a 2011 Israeli law allowing civil lawsuits against anyone who encourages a boycott of the country.
This is no farce. It may sound laughable, but the political implications are deadly serious. The lawsuit is a vivid example and extension of Israel’s suppression of dissenting voices.
Our letter to Lorde didn’t sway the balance of forces. The slow patient work of movement-building did