Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder Offends Israelis With Anti-War Speech

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder Offends Israelis With Anti-War Speech

War, what is it good for?

In a concert in Milton Keynes in the UK last week Eddie Vedder embarked on an anti-war rant during Pearl Jam’s performance of “Daughter”, which has offended many Israelis including DJ Ben Red, according to the Jerusalem Post. Vedder has often conducted anti-war speeches during Pearl Jam concerts over the years and has regularly used the outro of “Daughter” to share his views about politics and war. Some Israelis have interpreted his comments as being “anti-Israel” and believe Vedder was accusing the state of war-mongering in light of the recent heightening of tensions between Israel and neighbouring Palestine.

Footage from the show shows a clearly impassioned Vedder, embarking on the speech at the 4:10 minute mark of the song “Daughter” from the band’s 1993 album Vs. Read our transcript below:

“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. 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?”

“And I get it if war is the last resort. If they’re coming on your side. I get it. I get it. You don’t want to be in that situation. But 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 fucking 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!”

Vedder then led the crowd in a rendition of Edwin Starr’s classic anti-war anthem “War”.

Eddie Vedder’s Anti-War Speech During Daughter @ Milton Keynes 11/07/2014

While the Jerusalem Post acknowledges that the grunge singer, who is renowned for his outspoken views, never named Israel explicitly, they mention that Vedder denounces “those who go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them.”

Vedder’s remarks have led to a heated debate about his comments on the band’s Facebook page and also among Israeli fans of Pearl Jam who had previously campaigned to get the band to perform in Israel.

Ben Red, a DJ for Israel Radio’s music station denounced Vedder’s comments on his Facebook page.

“Eddie Vedder, your true face is finally being revealed,” Red wrote. “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.”

Read our review of the Milton Keynes gig here.

Pearl Jam have just recently completed their first European Tour in two years. They will embark on a US Tour in the autumn. Check out the tour dates below:

U.S. Tour Dates
10/01 – Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena
10/03 – St. Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center
10/04-05 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/08 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
10/09 – Lincoln, NE @ Pinnacle Bank Arena
10/10-12 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/14 – Memphis, TN @ FedEx Forum
10/16 – Detroit, MI @ Joe Louis Arena
10/17 – Moline, IL @ iWireless Center
10/19 – St. Paul, NM @ Xcel Energy Center
10/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ BMO Harris Bradley Center
10/22 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Arena

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  • Steve

    It seems clear that he is referring to Israel (given that American tax dollars go towards funding the IDF — disgracefully in my opinion), although some aspects of his speech could also be in reference to the current situation in Iraq. Whoever or whatever he is referring to is irrelevant however, his message holds true. Israelis are very quick to claim they are a victimised nation, that we in the West don’t understand how terrifying daily life is for them, but take one look at the rising death-toll in Gaza, compare it with Israeli losses (1 person so far I believe), and tell me who has more reason to be terrified? Israel, a nation founded by people who had endured horrific discrimination and injustice, has become exactly what those people fled from in the first place. Let them revoke their invitation for Pearl Jam to play… I’m sure there will be no sleep lost in the Vedder household.

  • Rob

    Gotta love Eddie, the man has got a soul..I agree with what Steve has said entirely..

    And, the pedant in me, in your transcription you miss a phrase in the line, “Everyone wants the same goddamn thing:[to live our lives,] to have our children…” And that’s really what it boils down to, live and let live.. Going to track down more live footage of gig, looks whopper..