Natalie Portman, Oscar award winning actress for film Black Sawan, has said she chose not to attend a ceremony in Israel to accept a million dollar prize because she did not want to be seen supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was scheduled to speak at the event.
The Israeli American actress has also clarified that that her decision was mis-characterized by others, as earlier it was reported that her stance had caused a minor backlash in Israel after organizers of the prestigious Genesis Prize award ceremony said they cancelled the prize giving.
Natalie Portman said she did not endorse the organized BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) boycott movement, but is critical of the Israeli leadership. The actress also said mistreatment of Palestinians was against her Jewish values.
The actress took to Instagram to speak of her mind as many things came circulating with her name which she never meant. As the Genesis Prize Foundation had quoted a representative of Portman who said recent “distressing” events in Israel caused the actress to back out and that she would not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel associating her with ongoing protests by Palestinians in Gaza strip.
Natalie Portman wrote, ”My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mis-characterized by others. Let me speak for myself. I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony. By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it. Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance. Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.
Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me as my own. This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel. I will be announcing them soon, and I hope others will join me in supporting the great work they are doing.”
Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem and moved to the United States at age three. She won the Best Actress Oscar in 2010 for her role in “Black Swan”. She has also directed and starred in a Hebrew language film set in Israel based on an Amos Oz novel “Tale of Love and Darkness,” in 2015. Her latest has been science fiction horror film Annihilation, based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best selling Southern Reach Trilogy.