Big Day Out 2014 - Auckland

At a recent Pearl Jam concert in Milton Keynes, England, during an extended jam on “Daughter,” Eddie Vedder launched into an anti-war rant that some listeners perceived as an anti-Israel rant. Read the full text of his speech below — or, to get the full effect, watch Vedder get fired up beginning at 4:10 in the fan-made video:

So 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. They know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it. Half the time they know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it. We have technology. All this at our hands. But at the same time something this positive is happening — at the same fucking time, not even that far away — we’re fucking dropping bombs on each other. What the fucking fuck? And I get if war is the last resort. If they’re coming on your soil, I get it. I get it. You don’t want to be in that situation. But I swear to fucking god, there are some people out there who are looking for a reason to kill. They’re looking for a reason to come across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them, and they should get the fuck out and mind their own fucking business! Everyone wants the same goddamn thing: Live our lives! 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 fucking same. So why are people at war? Stop the fucking shit now! Now! Now! We don’t want to give them our money. They don’t get our taxes to drop bombs on children! No! No more!

(via Rolling Stone)

After catching some flack for his comments from Israeli sources such as The Jerusalem Post, which described the rant as “an anti-Israel diatribe,” Vedder posted to Pearl Jam’s website explaining that he’s anti-war, not anti-Israel. After quoting John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Vedder wrote, “War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.” Later in the piece, he continued, “We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.” Read Vedder’s full essay here.

[Photo by Jason Oxenham/Getty Images.]

Comments (32)
  1. You can’t say anything anti-war these days, lest you be labeled an anti-semite, anti-american, etc.

  2. This is the thing. He’s perfectly entitled to make those comments. Israel is out there slaughtering Palestinians and their innocent children, but nobody can usher a fucking word about it lest we be called anti-semites. I say fuck that. I hope the palestinians find peace and the world intervenes before every last Palestinian is killed by the illegal occupation of Israel.

    • Right because the Palestinians and Hamas really just want peace.

      • I guess they also want their fucking land back and freedom… how dare they.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • I don’t get why this guy is getting downvoted. He’s not totally right, but there’s really no right answer to this whole thing anyway, other than “you should both stop now,” which isn’t going to happen.

            Hamas sucks because they want to destroy Israel, and the Palestinians, while they don’t agree with Hamas for the most part, prefer to have someone fighting for them rather than kicking them out of their homes. Israel sucks in the same way America did (does) during Iraq and Afghanistan – they react to terrorist threats with “let’s bomb everything” and act surprised when people get mad that they’ve killed innocents in the process (which, in turn, puts more Palestinians concretely on the side of Hamas out of anger and sadness).

            Hamas should be destroyed – they’re a shitty organization that relies on terrorism and murder to get what they want. The Palestinians should have put something better in office, but they had no better options in terms of people who would fight for them. Israel should stop instigating Palestinians on the Gaza Strip, but that’s where a lot of the people who want to kill them hide out. It’s a terrible shit-pile running in a downward spiral, and both sides are wrong.

      • What the hell?!?!? Are you guys arguing here while we’re supposed to be celebrating peace?!?!? That’s it. I didn’t want to have to do this, but I’m declaring war on the both of you. See you in hell.

    • In a better world, “don’t drop bombs on children” should be the least controversial thing you can say. Eddie Vedder should feel no need to qualify his remarks

  3. anti-war = anti everything israel’s ever done

  4. Did you read about the CNN reporter who tweeted some Israelis who threatened her were scum, and was immediately attacked by people claiming she was saying that Israel is scum? She had to delete her tweet, as did Rihanna. What are these people afraid of? Nutters boycotting or booing their shows? I don’t envy anyone who is not pro-everything-Israel-does, and lives in the USA. You’re immediately labeled as pro-terrorist, anti-semite, “Go back to your Hamas cave in the mountains”, etc. Frankly, the impression I get from those people, is that they would approve even if an atomic bomb was dropped on Gaza. And use the same arguments if you protested.

  5. “I hope someday you’ll join us,…” OWWWOOOOOOOOO!

  6. I love this man so much. People ragged on Eddie Vedder for wearing a George W. Bush mask and singing “Bushleaguer” on the Riot Act tour. Now we all know he was right about that warmonger. People ragged on him for supporting the West Memphis 3. Now the state of Arkansas has released from prison/death row because they knew they could never win a trial against them. Fight the good fight, Ed. Go with your heart. It has never led you wrong before.

    • He’s got major guts to speak against Israel. Rock stars were pretty instrumental in helping turn the world against apartheid in S. Africa and let’s hope they can do it again w/ apartheid in Palestine.

  7. Guess there’s not much going on in Israel these days, so the Jerusalem Post has plenty of time to critique rock star stage banter.

  8. Here’s to hoping anti-Israel sentiment becomes more widespread in mainstream media.

  9. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • ‘Instead, they are actually trying to avoid killing innocent civilians’

      Not very good at that are they? Around 300 dead Palestinians over the last ten days so far.

      I think the above commenters know exactly what they’re talking about. You don’t have to be a massive fan of Hamas to think that Israel is like the playground bully whose father is the headmaster.

    • Do you realize that you, too, are an anonymous poster on a music site? What gives you more authority to speak than anyone else? I don’t recall seeing any Foreign Policy articles published under the “drummer729″ byline.

    • Again with the downvoting. See my comment above.

    • All true about Hamas. But I don’t feel like ignoring other things. Namely, the fact that every single time there were supposed be peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu’s government effectively boycotted them by expanding constructions on the West Bank. Nor will I ignore testimonials by Israeli military personnel about devising a scoring system for Palestinian homes destroyed, and abusing innocent people like bullies. Or the people cheering from afar as bombs fell on Gaza. Or the government member who said Palestinian mothers should be killed. Or, above and beyond all that, the type of victims that this “war” is causing.

      Basically, if this was clearly made to target Hamas, I would be all in Israel’s favor. But, like previous invasions, it all points to a punitive mission.

    • Israel being very restraint ? You gotta be fucking kdding me.

    • who’s really denying who the right to exist?

      • May want to dig deeper… your map is missing most of Historical “Palestine” – the arab countries that claim more land than Israel… Historically Palestine was a region, think “the south” for the United States. There was never a country called Palestine.

        History here…

        “Palestine in the ancient world was part of the region known as Canaan and, later, the region where the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were located. Palestine is a designation of an area of land, which the Philistines occupied a very small part of (the Canaanites/Phonecians and the Israelites, among others, having established themselves in the area much earlier).

        The Philistines (thought to be from Crete and, certainly, from the Aegean area) landed on the southern Mediterranean coast of the region known as Canaan in circa 1194 BCE after being repulsed in their invasion of Egypt (along with the Sea Peoples) by Rameses III. By 1185 BCE they had established themselves firmly in settlements along the coast known as Philistia. Other, older, settlements were already thriving in the area upon their arrival and the Philistines went quickly to work to subdue the area and benefit from the wealth there found.

        So that makes the original Palestinians Greek, not arab …

  10. drummer729 – I didn’t have a chance to go on a Birthright trip to get the information you’re providing, sorry about that bro.

  11. So how about that new Weird Al video?

  12. So tired of people not being allowed to have an opinion that requires the masses to actually think. Glad Ed stood up and kept on talking instead of issuing a kowtowing apology.

  13. The main problem with the state of Israel is that it’s largely a Western creation (in much the same way Iraq was), so it will probably never achieve legitimacy in the Arab/Muslim world. The Jews needed someplace they could call their own in the aftermath of the Holocaust and so, Israel. The problem (much like Europeans coming to America) was that there were already people living there. Most American Presidents of recent memory have been all but ready to bend over backward for Israel for years (often with supplies of actual armament) in fear of being seen as “soft on terrorism.” And yes, we’ll sometimes scold Israel for bombing the shit out of Palestinian civilians or destroying settlements or the IDF running people over with bulldozers or what-have-you, but it doesn’t really mean anything and it doesn’t really change anything…much like these peace talks they keep trying to have. And then you have Birthright Jews moving into the West Bank (most often illegally; some are American Jews) and making shit worse. So yeah, personally in favor of a two-state solution (if at all possible), but Netanyahu sucks and so does Hamas…so best of luck with that.

  14. Whatever his position, his,um… eloquence is rather underwhelming.

  15. Nitpicking here, but there’s an error in the transcription of the speech. He doesn’t say “Half the time they know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it”, he says “Advertisers know what we’re thinking before we’re thinking it”.

  16. if that was the real case.
    you all need a severe reality check if you think Israel is the aggressor…

    It’s like saying the US is responsible for 9-11, etc…

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