Actor Natalie Portman pulls out of Israeli award ceremony

22 April, 2018, 10:00 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Emma McIntyre  Getty Images
Natalie Portman

Although the representative for Natalie Portman did not elaborate on her reasons for snubbing the awards, one only needs to look at what was - in her statement - referred to as "recent events in Israel". Portman's decision also coincides the Israel marking 70 years of its existence.

The Hollywood star was blamed for sympathizing with BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) supporters.

The 36-year-old thespian was invited to grace the Genesis Prize ceremony on June 28, as she was revealed to be 2018's Genesis Prize Laureate in November last year.

The Genesis Prize Foundation says it was informed Portman "does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel".

The Genesis Prize Foundation said it was "very saddened" by the decision.

"I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it", the Oscar-winning US-Israeli actress said. BDS movement officials demand artists cut cultural ties with the Jewish state as a protest about Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Natalie Portman has chose to pull out of attending an awards ceremony in Jerusalem, due to the distress from the country's recent events. But her actions are being received as a sort of vindication of weeks of organizing by left-wing Jewish activists, much of it in response to the Israeli military's shooting of hundreds of noncombatant Palestinians at the Gaza border, and killing of dozens more.

Portman was born in Jerusalem and moved to the United States at age three.

However, the Genesis Foundation said it had cancelled its ceremony in June after the Oscar victor pulled out. "Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power", Portman said.

The Genesis Prize, dubbed the "Jewish Nobel", recognises "outstanding achievement by individuals who have attained excellence and worldwide renown in their chosen professional fields [who] embody the character of the Jewish people".

Portman then said not to "take any words that do not come directly from me as my own" and said that she would subsequently be supporting multiple charities in Israel, which she would announce at a later date.

Natalie Portman said she was boycotting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of "atrocities" committed in Israel on his watch, but emphasized that she would not shun Israel.

Portman's publicist in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to an email seeking further information.

Portman said in her statement that the backlash has inspired her to make numerous contributions to charities in Israel.

Previous Hollywood honorees of the Genesis Prize include actor Michael Douglas and musician Itzhak Perlman, who has performed scores for films including Schindler's List, Hero and Memoirs of a Geisha. She also expressed disappointment after his re-election in 2015. Numerous awardees have been personally wealthy and have regifted their prize money to the foundation.

The Genesis Award was established by Mikhail Fridman and other wealthy Russian-Jewish businessmen in 2012.


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