Former NIRVANA bassist Krist Novoselic has defended Eddie Vedder over the impassioned anti-war speech the PEARL JAM singer made during a concert earlier in the month, thanking Eddie for "speaking up for peace in our world."
Vedder's July 11 speech in England was interpreted by some fans as being aimed at Israel. According to Spin, Vedder's critics say that the artist has accused Israel of war-mongering in the current escalating military situation with Palestine. The Jerusalem Post called the speech an "anti-Israel diatribe" and printed reactions from fans in Israel, including rock radio DJ Ben Red, who was behind a campaign to get PEARL JAM to come perform in Israel but now has said, "Eddie Vedder, your true face is finally being revealed. 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."
Earlier today (Sunday, July 20), Novoselic posted the following message on his official blog:
"Thank you, Eddie Vedder, for speaking up for peace in our world.
"Eddie has gotten some criticism over comments he made about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. That situation has been messed up for so long, it is no wonder that even mentioning it is toxic.
"Let's face it, the relationship between the Palestinians and the Israelis is a disaster! I don't know how many times I have heard the same explanations and excuses and it matters not, there is a continuing catastrophe between those two peoples.
"Our world is connected as never before. People from all corners of the planet share culture and commerce at the click of a mouse. In contrast to this great convergence of humanity, Israel is building tall concrete walls while Palestinians fire rockets over them. There's a shared recent history between these people, and I think there could be a shared future that's more in tune with what's going on with our ever-connected universe.
"Hamas' policy of not recognizing Israel is a dead end. All our lives are a result of the course of history. In other words, one thing leads to another, and our circumstances bring us to where we are. Israel has been a state for over 50 years, and has grown to seven million citizens. Furthermore, Israel is an inclusive democracy with universal human rights. In fact, Arab Israelis, like all its citizens, can vote for parties who hold seats in the Knesset, the national legislature.
"However, if there is to be recognition of the course of history, we cannot forget the demographic changes the idea of Israel has created over 50 years. The influx of people into Israel — mostly Europeans — has displaced some four million Palestinians. You can give any anecdote you want about how small Israel is in comparison to the rest of the Middle East but the sentiment is still there — Palestinians feel that their land was taken away.
"The region is host to the convergence of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. It's where these religions started, and the region's extensive history draws from all three of these Abrahamic faiths. Radicals hold eschatological beliefs that, if manifested, could set off a major religious conflict in the region and world. You have to credit Israel for keeping a lid on this dynamic while at the same time granting religious freedom.
"As we've seen with other conflicts, things do and can change. The 'troubles' in Northern Ireland were a result of events a century ago, and after a proactive effort, peace has taken hold. Yugoslavia was another 19th-century idea that when put into practice caused much controversy and conflict. Today we find the south Slavs working to come together in the European Union. In both these cases, a resolution of the conflict was buttressed by the promise of the stability needed for prosperity to happen.
"The people of Palestine and Israel deserve peace and prosperity. It is time to stop repeating the same old arguments, dogma and hate speech. It is the knuckleheads on both sides that should be criticized and not the singer from a rock band. In addition, both sides need to make hard decisions about finding a settlement to the catastrophe that is Israel/ Palestine.
"Thanks, Eddie, for sharing your feelings. I stand with you, my friend!!!"
Swigging from a wine bottle — as usual during a PEARL JAM show — Vedder said in his speech (see video below), "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?"
Vedder continued, "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 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!"
Vedder then dropped to his knees to beg for peace, leading the audience in a rendition of Edwin Starr's "War".
The singer later clarified his comments in an essay posted on PEARL JAM's official web site, stating, "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 every day, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable."
He added: "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."
PEARL JAM does not perform again until this fall, when it kicks off a North American tour on October 1 in Cincinnati.