Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder: The Singer Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

Everybody’s got an opinion and everybody’s entitled to one, and Eddie Vedder has expressed his on more than one occasion. Israel supporters got annoyed on July 11, however, when they took his on-stage rant at a Pearl Jam concert—we’ll call it his “no more war” rant—as implicitly criticizing the Israeli military and that therefore he was “anti-Israel.”

Here’s the video, posted by GotsomePearlJam. Jump to the 4:10 mark.

Then on July 16, Vedder posted a statement on the Pearl Jam website which we’re assuming was damage control. There was no apology for his “no more war” rant, and it was even less implicit on the subject of Israel. He didn’t mention it by name in either case.

Krist Novoselic, bass player for Nirvana and writer on politics, stood with Vedder on his blog on July 20, taking Vedder’s rant as being totally about Israel-Palestine.

There’s been more activity online about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Rihanna stuck her toe in these waters on July 15 when she tweeted #FreePalestine, but that lasted a total of eight minutes before she deleted it, and then backpedaled: supposedly she didn’t realize she tweeted it.

A few musicians have been explicit on Israel’s long occupation of Palestine. Massive Attack, longtime Palestinian supporters, lit up a sign about Gaza at one of their shows on July 20.

Some are going so far as to boycott playing in Israel. Roger Waters (ex-Pink Floyd) has been outspoken on the subject for years. He and others put a ton of pressure on Neil Young and Crazy Horse to cancel a July 17 show in Tel Aviv, which they did, but citing safety concerns instead of a boycott movement: Palestinians first called for a BDS movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) in 2005.

Serj Tankian from System of a Down addressed the conflict in Gaza and called for the end of the occupation on his Facebook page on July 21.

Also on the 21st Annie Lennox, best known from the Eurythmics, posted a comment on her Facebook page about the Palestinian death toll from the conflict, and two days later it had over 2,800 comments. On June 22nd she addressed that barrage with more inclusiveness: “As yesterday’s blog illustrated, the issue of what’s happening in Gaza is deeply divisive and contentious, as it has been for decades … . This Gordion knot of violence is not the way to a peaceful solution FOR EITHER SIDE and never will be.”

Finally, proper coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the current fighting has been spotty, to put it one way. Producer and musician Brian Eno wrote a letter to The Guardian about the BBC’s lackluster reporting on Palestine on July 11. (Scroll down at the link to find Eno’s letter.)

Israel-Palestine is a lightning rod, in Eddie Vedder’s case and many others.

We added to this post on July 23.


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