Should artists express their views on the Israeli/Gaza conflict? Or on any divisive political matters at all? A number of artists have commented on recent current events and had to either back track or explain their messages.
Should we be looking for them to comment at all? To catch up on two recent examples:
Over the last several days, Pearl Jam”s Eddie Vedder has used the stage as a pulpit to express anti-war sentiments. He started during a Pearl Jam show in London on July 11 when he declared, “There are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill!,” before going into a cover of Edwin Starr”s ‘War.” 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.”
Though Vedder did not mention any countries by name, the timing coincided with Isreal and the Gaza/Palestinian conflict rising up again, and some accused him of taking an anti-Israeli stance.
On Thursday (16), Vedder took to Pearl Jam”s website to address that he was still anti-war and he, again, did not mention any specific conflict. “With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable…War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.”
Vedder referenced a line from John Lennon”s “Imagine,” to open up his post on the PJ website and then this weekend, he performed Lennon”s “Imagine” at a solo show.
Now, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has jumped into the fray to defend Vedder…and Novoselic is naming names. On his blog Sunday night, Novoselic posted a long letter that starts by thanking Vedder for speaking out “about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis,” and then uses that as a launchpad to give his views on the issue before concluding, “It is the knuckleheads on both sides that should be criticized and not the singer from a rock band.”