In England on Friday night (July 11), Pearl Jam boss Eddie Vedder interrupted his band’s show for an impassioned anti-war rant that’s riled up fans who are interpreting his comments as aimed at Israel. They feel the outspoken artist is essentially accusing the United States ally of war-mongering in light of the current escalating military tensions with Palestine, the cause for concern that led Neil Young to cancel his show in Tel Aviv.
Seen openly swigging from a wine bottle in the clip above, Vedder launches his tirade at 4:10:
“What the fuck? What the fuck? We can have this many people having a peaceful time. We can have modern technology. We can reach our friends. We know what they’re thinking before they’re thinking it. The advertisers know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it. We have technology — all this in our hands. At the same time that something this positive is happening, at the same fucking time, not even that far away, they’re fucking dropping bombs on each other. What the fucking fuck?”
Where he gets into trouble is in a bit that implies support of Palestinian sovereignty:
“I swear to fucking God, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill! They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the fuck out, and mind their own fucking business… Everyone wants the same goddamn thing: to have our children, eat, procreate, draw a painting, make some art, listen to music, fuck some more, have another baby, eat, work, eat, work, love, love, love, everyone’s the fuckin’ same! So why are people at war? Stop the fucking shit, now! Now! Now! We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children! Now! No more! Now!”
He concludes by singing Edwin Starr’s “War” and dropping to his knees to beg for peace.
The Jerusalem Post, after emphatically dubbing the speech an “anti-Israel diatribe,” highlighted reactions from Pearl Jam’s Israeli fans, who’d launched a social media campaign to bring the band there in the first place. They quote Ben Red, a rock disc-jockey for Israel Radio’s music station 88FM and one of the campaign’s organizers: “Eddie Vedder, your true face is finally being revealed. You are invited not to come here. I personally do not want to see you, and I will erase the Facebook page calling on bringing [Pearl Jam] to Israel, but not before I expose who you really are.”
Astoundingly emotional reactions on the singer’s Facebook abound, both from those defending the universality of Vedder’s words and those heartbroken by what they see as a betrayal.
Watch the video above and decide for yourself if Vedder means more than he is saying.