As 17-year-old Palestinian girl Ahed Tamimi remains in prison awaiting trial for slapping a soldier who invaded her family’s yard, three 17-year-old Israeli girls are at the centre of a lawsuit over the decision by New Zealand singer Lorde to cancel a planned Tel Aviv concert.

Israeli legal NGO Shurat HaDin is suing two New Zealand-based Palestinian solidarity activists on behalf of the three Israeli teens for their role in campaigning for Lorde to cancel the gig as part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The BDS campaign was launched in 2005 by dozens of Palestinian civil society groups in protest against Israel’s apartheid policies towards Palestinians. It has gathered steam in recent times, with a growing array of musicians and other cultural figures refusing to cross the BDS picket line.

The decision of a superstar like the 21-year-old Lorde to respect the boycott is a clear sign of its growing power — a fact evidently unnerving Israel and its supporters.

In a key sign of the growing power of the BDS campaign, the central council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) — the official representative of the Palestinian people — has formally endorsed the campaign for the first time.

In a January 17 statement, the Palestinian BDS National Committee said: “As the leadership of the [BDS] movement for Palestinian rights, we welcome the PLO’s decision to officially and unequivocally declare its support for the BDS movement, already supported across the breadth of Palestinian society in Palestine and in exile.

“This declaration, along with the PLO’s unprecedented call for sanctions against Israel, will further enhance the growth and impact of BDS across the world in pursuit of Palestinian freedom, justice and equality…

“With this official Palestinian backing of BDS, we shall work more diligently than ever with our popular base and international allies to push for a two-way military embargo on Israel, the suspension of free trade agreements with it, and the cessation of trade with or investment in any Israeli or international company involved in Israel’s annexation of occupied Palestinian land and flagrant violation of Palestinian human rights.”

In the case of Lorde’s stance, the three teens aggrieved by her cancelation could have simply asked for a refund on the tickets. However, Shurat HaDin sees this as the perfect test case for a specific Israeli law aimed at combating BDS.

Shurat HaDin states that its aims are to advocate for Jewish rights worldwide, but it interprets this as campaigning against those who “seek to delegitimise the Jewish state” — that is, Israel, a state that defines itself this way despite large numbers of non-Jews living within its borders. There can be no doubt that Shurat HaDin is specifically dedicated to protecting the state of Israel.

 

Read the full article written by Lisa Gleeson at Green Left Weekly.

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