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Eddie Vedder Addresses Anti-War Comments

Jason Oxenham, Getty Images

Last weekend, while onstage at a Pearl Jam concert in England, Eddie Vedder launched into a profanity-laced anti-war tirade. While he didn’t specifically mention any names, many people assumed he was talking about the Palestine-Israel conflict.

That didn’t sit too well with some of the group’s fans, who called the singer’s onstage comments “anti-Israel diatribe.” An Israeli DJ, who was campaigning to bring Pearl Jam to Israel for a concert, even pulled his support for the band.

Now Vedder has responded to the controversy. In a post called ‘Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War’ on Pearl Jam’s website, he begins by quoting John Lennon‘s 1971 song ‘Imagine’ (“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”) and stands by his words.

“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,” Vedder writes. “War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.”

Here’s his entire statement:

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.

While performing the Pearl Jam favorite ‘Daughter’ onstage at the Milton Keyes National Bowl, Vedder told the audience, ”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 then fell to his knees and sang Edwin Starr’s 1970 anti-war hit ‘War.’ Here’s footage from the concert:

Next: 10 Best Pearl Jam Songs

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