By Brian Ives
During “Daughter,” an emotional and possibly drunk Vedder asked the audience, “What the f***? What the f***? 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 f***ing time, not even that far away, they’re f***ing dropping bombs on each other. What the f***ing f***?”
His point that people are dropping bombs on each other is, at least, an acknowledgment that both sides in the Gaza Strip conflict have launched attacks.
However, he goes on to denounce “Those who go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them,” which has been interpreted as an attack on Israel, and perhaps a historically inaccurate one, depending on who you ask.
His quote was: “I swear to f***ing 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 f*** out, and mind their own f***ing business,” he yells, while grasping a wine bottle. “Everyone wants the same goddamn thing: to have our children, eat, procreate, draw a painting, make some art, listen to music, f*** some more, have another baby, eat, work, eat, work, love, love, love, everyone’s the f***in’ same! So why are people at war? Stop the f***ing s***, 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 then launched into Edwin Starr’s anti-war classic, “War.” At the song’s close, he dropped to his knees, dramatically, and said, “Please, please, please, we beg of you, please, please, please.”
According to The Jerusalem Post, Vedder’s remarks drew a sharp rebuke from Israeli fans of Pearl Jam who had previously launched a social media campaign, including a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, aimed at bringing the band there to perform a show.
Ben Red, a rock disc jockey for Israel Radio’s music station 88FM and one of the campaign’s organizers, denounced Vedder on his Facebook page (which is in Hebrew).
“Eddie Vedder, your true face is finally being revealed,” Red wrote, according to The Jerusalem Post‘s translation. “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.”
Meanwhile, debate has unsurprisingly broken out on Pearl Jam’s own Facebook page, with one Israeli fan writing a passionate letter to Eddie Vedder, noting, among other things, the rarely reported point that “IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] is the only army in the world that is making phone calls to people living in the target area and telling them that there is going to be a strike, allowing them to save their lives.”
Pearl Jam will return to the U.S. in October for a North American tour.