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. Thursday's ruling is believed to be the first time the 2011 law has been applied.
The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, had appealed to the singer in an open letter to "join the artistic boycott of Israel". Lorde acknowledged the letter and cancelled her show days later.
Three Israeli ticket holders filed the suit, claiming the cancellation had caused emotional distress. Their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, says the decision sends a message that boycotting Israel carries a price.
Sachs today tweeted they would issue a statement at some stage this afternoon.
the women issued a statement saying they "believed this was a hoax" and seemingly "ridiculous".
"We have not received any summons or other formal notice. On this basis, as far as we are concerned, this 'case' has no legitimacy," the women wrote in January.
"Our New Zealand friends and colleagues at work today were incredulous at news of our rumoured legal predicament. Still, Shurat HaDin has gone to the media alleging to be suing us on behalf of three ticket holders who are seeking $13,000 in damages, some of which is for the 'moral and emotional injury' they suffered from being denied Lorde's concert.
"We all loved Melodrama, but really?"
They added they wouldn't be bullied into being told what to say or think and their open letter to Lorde was a way of joining "a chorus of millions of people across the world" who were calling for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine.
"No intimidation tactics can or will stifle this growing movement."
The Herald is attempting to reach Sachs and Abu-Shanab for comment.