Big Thief Defend Upcoming Shows in Israel

Big Thief Defend Upcoming Shows in Israel

“We are well aware of the cultural aspect of the BDS movement and the desperate reality of the Palestinian people”

June 4, 2022

Big Thiefs Adrianne Lenker

Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, March 2022 (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns)

Big Thief have released a statement defending their decision to book two shows in Tel Aviv, Israel—bassist Max Oleartchik’s hometown—on July 6-7. In an Instagram post, the band said “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.” Check out the full statement below.

This will not be the first time the band has booked shows in Israel. Big Thief first played Barby in Tel Aviv in November 2017; they planned to return in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down touring globally. With the announcement of the 2020 show, the band shared a statement on Facebook nearly identical to the one posted to Instagram this week. 

The full contents of Big Thief’s Instagram post read: 

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.

With love,
Big Thief.

Big Thief released their latest album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You in Februrary. They wrapped the U.S. leg of their world tour last month; they kick off a run of European dates in Paris this weekend.

Check out Pitchfork’s “Interview” feature “Big Thief on Learning to Loosen Up and Their Epic New 20-Track Album.”