Natalie Portman Responds to 'Jewish Nobel' Backlash
Celebrity

In a lengthy statement which she shares on Instagram, the actress insists that the reasons behind her initial decision have been 'mischaracterized by others.'

AceShowbiz - Natalie Portman has responded to the backlash she received after canceling plans to accept the 2018 Genesis Prize in Israel. The "Black Swan" star was expected to pick up the award in her birth city of Jerusalem on June 28.

On Thursday, April 19, organizers revealed Natalie, who has dual Israeli and American citizenship, would no longer be travelling to the country to accept the honour, because she "doesn't feel comfortable" attending following "recent events" in the area. Her comments appeared to reference the use of live ammunition by the nation's military members during ongoing clashes with Palestinians along the border with Gaza, leaving many Arabs dead.

The move sparked a backlash from her fellow Israelis, with Miri Regev, the country's minister for culture and sports, among those slamming Portman for seemingly turning her back on her homeland. Another member of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party demanded the actress be stripped of her Israeli citizenship.

Now Natalie, who has been openly critical of Netanyahu in the past, has directly addressed the news of her withdrawal from the event in a statement issued via Instagram, insisting the reasons behind her initial decision have been "mischaracterized by others."

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.

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"Let me speak for myself," she shares. "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."

She goes on to dismiss claims suggesting she is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, through which activists have called on artists to cut cultural ties with the Jewish state to protest Israel officials' 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 continues. "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," she adds. "Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me as my own."

Portman concludes her message by revealing plans to donate to various charities in Israel as a result of the Genesis Prize backlash. "I will be announcing them [recipients] soon, and I hope others will join me in supporting the great work they are doing," she writes.

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