Update: Natalie Portman to skip Israeli ceremony due to Netanyahu speech

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‘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’

23 April 2018 |THR

Natalie Portman: “I Am Not Part of the BDS Movement”

Full statement released:

My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized 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.


21 April 2018 | Staff |  Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman said she chose not to attend a ceremony in Israel to accept a million-dollar prize because she did not want to be seen as supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was scheduled to speak at the event.

Portman’s decision, which she said was “mischaracterized by others,” had caused a minor backlash in Israel on Friday after organizers of the prestigious Genesis Prize award ceremony said they canceled the prize-giving.

The group had quoted a representative of Portman who said recent “distressing” events in Israel caused the actress to back out.

Genesis Prize cancels ceremony after 2018 winner Natalie Portman said she won’t visit Israel

The Genesis Prize announced it was canceling its prize ceremony in Israel in June after 2018 recipient Natalie Portman said she would not take part in light of “recent events.”

On Thursday, the Genesis Prize Foundation, which awards what it calls the “Jewish Nobel,” said it was “very saddened” that the Israeli-American actress would not take part in the ceremony. The foundation said that Portman’s representative notified it that “[r]ecent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel” and that “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony.”

This led many to interpret her decision as connected to the international criticism of Israel for its military response to Palestinian protests on the Gaza-Israel border during the last few weeks, in which 35 Palestinians were killed.

Israel has said it is doing what it must to defend its borders.

Some ministers in Netanyahu’s right-wing government said Portman appeared to have been manipulated by the Palestinian-led international campaign to boycott Israel.

“Let me speak for myself,” Portman said later in a statement posted on Instagram. “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.”

Portman said she did not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to isolate Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

“Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation,” she said.

“Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust,” she said. “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.”

NATALIE PORTMAN SAYS NOT BOYCOTTING ISRAEL, BUT NETANYAHU FOR ‘ATROCITIES’

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.

The Jerusalem-born director and actor, posting Friday night on Instagram, explained her decision not to accept in person the $2 million Genesis Prize, which calls itself the “Jewish Nobel,” after a day of speculation in the media that she was turning down the prize because she was joining the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. The prize foundation had the day before announced Portman’s decision not to attend the ceremony.

“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,” said Portman, who in 2011 won a best actress Oscar.

“By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it,” Portman said.

The Genesis Prize has been awarded since 2014 to individuals for excellence in their professional fields and “who inspire others through their dedication to the Jewish community and Jewish values”.

Previous winners have included former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sculptor Anish Kapoor, violinist Itzhak Perlman and Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, all of whom donated their prize money to charitable causes.

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”.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

 

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