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Natalie Portman Skips "Jewish Nobel Prize" Over Recent Events in Israel

24 April 2018

Israeli PM Netanyahu addresses the 2018 AIPAC Policy Conference.

Natalie Portman at the January 20 Women's March in LA Emma McIntyre/Getty Images (JTA) - Natalie Portman said she wouldn't attend a prize ceremony in Israel because of her feelings about its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and "atrocities" committed on his watch, but emphasized that she would not shun Israel itself.

"I can not support the decision of canceling an appearance due to 'recent events in Israel, '" Kahn said, referring to the original statement put out on Portman's behalf. He said that it is unfortunate that Portman has joined those who slam Israel's success and label the country's success as "a tale of darkness".

This was a troubling development and perhaps the BDS movement's greatest victory to date. Portman said she would be donating her award to women's rights groups.

Israel's Likud party swiftly condemned her views.

Instead, the Genesis Prize Foundation will decide where the money goes.

The Israeli political class was quick to react.

Portman is Jerusalem-born and holds both USA and Israeli citizenship.

A closer look at the initial reports raised some questions.

The Palestinian-led BDS movement's co-founder Omar Barghouti said in an email to The New York Times that "this latest rebuff to Israeli cultural events and accolades, coming from an Israeli-American superstar, is arguably one of the strongest indicators yet of how toxic the Israel Brand has become, even in some liberal circles in Hollywood".

After 70 years, no Israeli citizen can look to the northern border without a growing sense of concern over.

"Together with the Genesis Prize Foundation, we will make sure that women's rights organizations ... will not be affected in any way".

This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel.

Portman released a statement that said her reasons for declining have been misinterpreted. But Portman will no longer choose the recipients, owing to her refusal to attend the award ceremony, according to a statement by Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn, who supplied half of this year's award. Her statement was vague but seemed to indicate that she did not want to be seen as endorsing Bibi's handling of Sudanese and Eritreans now residing in Israel, and that she was particularly upset by the allegations of corruption against the prime minister.

So why did the Genesis Prize rush to put out a statement that made it seem like one of Israel's favorite daughters had gone over to the dark side? Although you won't easily find this information on their website, the Foundation is apparently a partnership between several oligarchs, the Jewish Agency, and the Prime Minister's Office.

Hazan had scathing words for Portman, calling her a "little hyprocrite liar" for formerly being critical of the state and now qualifying her decision to abstain from the ceremony as directed against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was due to speak there.

Natalie Portman Skips