Eddie Vedder Reiterates Anti-War Stance After Anti-Israel Accusations

"I'd rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution," Pearl Jam singer writes

Eddie Vedder performs
Jason Oxenham/Getty Images
Eddie Vedder performs in Auckland, New Zealand.
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Following accusations by Israeli media that his recent onstage anti-war rant was anti-Israel, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder took to the band's website to write that "I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution."

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After quoting John Lennon's "Imagine," Vedder wrote of the "need to reach out to others" after "another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction." "The level of sadness becomes unbearable," writes Vedder. "And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page. Currently, I'm full of hope."

With the band on an European tour, Vedder contrasted seeing various nations' flags and "huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully" with various conflicts around the world, though he did not mention the Israel-Palestine conflict by name.

"The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war," wrote Vedder. "War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on."

After reiterating his lack of reconciliation between advances in modern technology and continued warfare, Vedder ended the statement with, "I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other."

Last week, during a gig in Milton Keynes, England, Vedder stopped the band's set to deliver an anti-war tirade. "I swear to fucking God, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill!," said the singer. "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!" The Jerusalem Post labeled the speech an "anti-Israel diatribe." 

Read Eddie Vedder's full statement:

Imagine That — I'm Still Anti-War

Most of us have heard John Lennon sing

"You may say I’m a dreamer... but I’m not the only one."

And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable. And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy? Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.

Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay. When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.

That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve. I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.

The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war.

War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.

With all the global achievements in modern technology, enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?

We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty. Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.

I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.

"I hope someday you’ll join us..."

Won’t you listen to what the man said.

— Eddie Vedder

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