Big Thief

Indie rock band Big Thief calls off Israel gigs under BDS pressure

Tel Aviv venue says American rockers succumb to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups to scrap dates; group says 'sorry to those we hurt with the recklessness and naivete of our original statement on playing in Israel'

Ynet |
Published: 06.09.22, 19:57
U.S. indie rock band Big Thief canceled its two Tel Aviv dates next month due to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups for a cultural boycott of Israel, the concerts' scheduled venue announced on Thursday.
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  • After announcing its intentions to play in the Israeli financial hub, the Brooklyn-based group, which also features Israeli bassist Max Oleartchik, faced online backlash from supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
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    ביג ת'יף
    ביג ת'יף
    Big Thief
    (Photo: Public Relations)
    "Attention! Big Thief canceled their concert in Israel," Tel Aviv's Barby Club posted on its Facebook page.
    "The BDS has been with us for 20 years, you as a band changed over the years, made a name for yourselves, you were nominated for a Grammy, you obviously have more to lose."
    The venue also stated it was the group that requested to perform in Israel as part of their upcoming tour and attributed their U-turn to pressures levied on them by the BDS movement.
    Big Thief first played in Israel in 2017 and was scheduled to return to for another performance in 2020 which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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    מקס אולארצ'יק
    מקס אולארצ'יק
    Max Oleartchik
    (Photo: Meshi Ben Ami, Assaf Chen)
    The production company behind the concert said in response "we feel sadness, disappointment, and tremendous frustration with the situation."
    The group shared a post on its Instagram page explaining the reasons behind scrapping the two shows, adding they "oppose the illegal occupation and the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people."
    Band members also stated that "our intent in wanting to play the shows in Tel Aviv, where Max was born, raised, and currently lives, stemmed from a simple, belief that music can heal.
    We now recognize that the shows we had booked do not honor that sentiment. We are sorry to those we hurt with the recklessness and naivete of our original statement on playing in Israel and we hope those who were planning to attend the shows understand our choice to cancel them."
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