Lorde concerts in Florida at risk from anti-BDS laws

Caving in and aligning yourself with nasty bullies has consequences as Lorde Ella Yelich-O’Connor is finding out.

She is now the poster girl for BDS and in some places supporting them is illegal:

Florida Rep. Randy Fine is calling on venues in Miami and Tampa to cancel scheduled concerts in April by the singer Lorde.

Fine, R-Palm Bay, said, if the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and the Tampa Sports Authority host the concerts at arenas they own in those cities, it would violate a Florida law passed in 2016.

Under that law, no state or local government can conduct business exceeding $1 million with any organization engaged in a boycott of Israel.  

Fine said that Lorde in December canceled a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, in support of what’s known as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement.

On its website, the BDS Movement says it “works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

But Fine has another take on the movement.

“Florida has no tolerance for anti-Semitism and boycotts intended to destroy the state of Israel,” Fine said in a statement issued Thursday. “That’s why Florida passed groundbreaking anti-BDS legislation several years ago.”

Fine contends that “current statutes are clear. Local governments cannot do business with companies that participate in anti-Semitic boycotts of Israel. When Lorde joined the boycott in December, she and her companies became subject to that statute. The taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and anti-Semitism, and I look forward to the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and the Tampa Sports Authority complying with the law, and canceling these concerts.”

Good job. Actions have consequences. By caving in to two anti-Semitic bullies she has aligned herself with the BDS movement. Now her lucrative US tour looks like it is going to get a haircut. She should compare how much she is going to lose now with how much she would have lost by going to a concert in Tel Aviv. My bet is she would have lost almost nothing by going to Israel, and now she stands to lose millions.

Lorde, a 21-year-old, New Zealand-born singer/songwriter, is best known for her 2013 hit single “Royals.”

Lorde is scheduled to perform April 11 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, which is owned by the Tampa Sports Authority, and April 12 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, which is owned by the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority.

Fine said both authorities are governmental special districts subject to Florida’s anti-BDS legislation.

In separate letters to the chairmen of the two authorities, Fine wrote: “In late December, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, who goes by the professional name ‘Lorde,’ canceled her upcoming performance in Tel Aviv, amid pressure from BDS activists. While Ms. Yelich-O’Connor canceled her performance in Tel Aviv — a vibrant, progressive and modern city — she has not announced any plans to cancel her upcoming shows in Putin’s Russia. In joining the boycott of Israel, Ms. Yelich-O’Connor made her business enterprises subject to Florida anti-discrimination laws, and disqualified herself and her companies from entering into almost any contract with state and local government.

Under Florida law, no local government, including independent special districts, can conduct business exceeding $1 million with Ms. Yelich-O’Connor, and as a result, I must ask you to require the immediate termination of ‘Lorde’ by you or any intermediaries working on your behalf,” Fine wrote. “Should they refuse, I would note that, under Florida law, they will be considered supporting the BDS movement, and will themselves become unable to contract with Florida governments.

In his letter, Fine wrote: “While I respect every American’s right to free speech — even when that speech is offensive and discriminatory — there is no right to use government to sponsor hate-based businesses. I look forward to the notice of the termination of this business agreement.”

Separately, Fine and Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, in November introduced legislation to strengthen Florida’s existing anti-BDS law by removing the $1 million threshold.

The Florida House on Jan. 31 approved Fine’s House Bill 545 by a 109-3 vote. Brandes’ Senate Bill 780 has been approved by two Senate committees, but has not yet been voted on by the full Senate.

They mean business. Actions have consequences, even cowardly actions. I feel for poor Ella… I do… really:



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