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Big Thief Defended Their Decision To Perform In Israel, But They Still Received Criticism For It

Last fall, Big Thief announced a world tour that kicked off at the end of January with performances in France. The string of shows, which comes after the release of their Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You album, was set to last until mid-June with a conclusion in Berlin, Germany. However, the band recently announced that they would extend their world tour with two performances in Tel Aviv, Israel. The shows were billed July 6-7, and together with the announcement, the BAND explained why they felt like it was important for them to perform in Israel, which is bassist Max Oleartchik’s hometown, but they were still hit with criticism.

“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,” they wrote. “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.”

They continued, “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.”

Big Thief concluded their message with the following:

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.

With love,
Big Thief.

You can view the band’s full message in the post above and read some responses from fans below.