Big Thief Release Statement About Decision to Play in Israel

Bassist Max Oleartchik is from Tel Aviv

Big Thief are planning to play two shows next month in Tel Aviv, Israel, which happens to be bassist Max Oleartchik’s hometown. Ahead of the gigs, the band shared a lengthy statement via Instagram explaining their reason for playing in such a controversial place.

In the message, they noted that “it is important for us to go where we have family to share space and play for them. It is foundational,” and addressed the inherently political nature of playing in Israel during a conflict. “Our intention is not to diminish the values of those who support the boycott or to turn a blind eye to those suffering,” they explained. “We are striving to be in the spirit of learning.”

With that in mind, Big Thief is vowing that “the show’s profits will be donated to NGOs that provide medical and humanitarian aid to Palestinian children, including joint efforts between Palestinians and Israelis working together for a better future.”

See the post and read the full statement below.

We are excited to announce two shows in Max’s hometown, Tel Aviv, Israel @barby.tlv on July 6th and 7th.

Accompanying this announcement, we would again like to clarify our motivations and intentions for playing in Tel Aviv, Israel, with as much transparency as possible.

Over the last seven years we’ve traveled constantly around 3 of our members’ home country, the United States, meeting each other’s families and childhood friends and sharing in the joys and sorrows of a complicated, beautiful and tumultuous home. We have grown so close. It is important for us to share our homes, families and friends with each other in order to gain a deeper understanding of one another and the people and places that have made us who we are. It is important for us to go where we have family to share space and play for them. It is foundational. It is in that spirit that we made our decision to play in Israel.

We are well aware of the cultural aspect of the BDS movement and the desperate reality of the Palestinian people. In terms of where we fit into the boycott, we don’t claim to know where the moral high ground lies and we want to remain open to other people’s perspectives and to love beyond disagreement. We understand the inherently political nature of playing there as well as the implications. Our intention is not to diminish the values of those who support the boycott or to turn a blind eye to those suffering. We are striving to be in the spirit of learning.

With this in heart, the show’s profits will be donated to NGOs that provide medical and humanitarian aid to Palestinian children, including joint efforts between Palestinians and Israelis working together for a better future.

 

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