Israel: Court issues ‘unenforceable’ €10,700 judgment against New Zealand activists

Israel: Court issues 'unenforceable' €10,700 judgment against New Zealand activists

An Israeli court has ordered two New Zealand activists to pay more than €10,700 in damages after they persuaded pop singer Lorde to cancel a concert in Tel Aviv.

However, legal experts have said the likelihood of the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court judgment being enforced in New Zealand is slim.

The judgment is believed to be the first effective application of a 2011 Israeli law which allows civil suits to be brought against people advocating a boycott of Israel, The Guardian reports.

The proceedings were brought by three Israeli fans of Lorde, with the assistance of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Centre (ILC), against Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab.

Ms Sachs, a Jewish writer and student living in Wellington, and Ms Abu-Shanab, a Palestinian teacher and trade unionist living in Auckland, put their names to an open letter calling on Lorde to “join the artistic boycott of Israel, cancel your Israeli tour dates and make a stand”.

The pop singer subsequently cancelled her show in Tel Aviv and said she was “not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one”.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin, told the Jerusalem Post that the ruling was “precedent-setting”, and insisted the NGO would “enforce this ruling in New Zealand and go after their bank accounts until it has been fully realised”.

However, Professor Andrew Geddis, of University of Otago Faculty of Law, told US website Electronic Intifada: “There is no reciprocal agreement between New Zealand and Israel allowing for the automatic enforcement of judgments in each other’s jurisdiction. As such, an application for enforcement would have to be made in the New Zealand High Court and assessed under New Zealand’s law on such matters.

“And as neither of the defendants were in Israel when they wrote the article, the New Zealand court will not recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction over the matter. In short, the judgment has no effect whatsoever in New Zealand and cannot be used to make the authors pay anything.”

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