Israeli court fines two New Zealanders over Lorde gig opinion piece

Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu Shanab say they will not be paying fine

FILE - In this Nov. 18, 2014, file photo, singer Lorde poses for photographers during an promotional event in Hong Kong. An Israeli court has ordered two New Zealand women to pay over $12,000 in damages for allegedly helping persuade the pop singer Lorde to cancel a performance in Israel. The suit was filed under a law that allows civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)
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An Israeli court has ordered Jewish New Zealander Justine Sachs and Palestinian New Zealander Nadia Abu Shanab to pay thousands after Lorde cancelled a Tel Aviv concert.

The pair had written an open letter to Lorde on New Zealand website The Spinoff  last December, asking the singer to cancel her upcoming concert, and eloquently explaining their reasons, as both a Jew who opposes Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people, and a Palestinian, with many family and friends still living under occupation.

In a separate article on the site today  the pair reveal that Israel's court has ordered them to pay $12,000 in damages to three Israeli teenagers who allegedly suffered "emotional damage" as a result of Lorde's eventual cancellation of her gig, following protests from pressure groups, ordinary citizens and fellow musicians such as Roger Waters and Peter Gabriel.

The pair say that they will not be paying the fine, having taken legal advice to the effect that “Israel has no right to police the political opinions of people across the world.” They also add that they consider the court ruling to be a PR stunt designed to intimidate Israel’s opponents around the world.

If the ruling was intended to attract attention, it has certainly succeeded, but perhaps not in the way Israel intended. Sachs and Abu-Shanab say that, since the verdict was made public earlier today, they have been swamped with offers of financial support from all over the world.

Consequently, although they have no intention of paying the fine, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $12,000, or more, for The Gaza Mental Health Foundation, which financially supports the work of grassroots organisations such as The Gaza Community Mental Health Program.

The Foundation will send donations in their entirety to organisations which are providing vital mental health support to the traumatised families of the Gaza Strip, where over half of children suffer from PTSD as a result of Israeli attacks.