Natalie Portman made waves when she turned down an invitation as an honoree for the Genesis Prize, a prestigious awards ceremony from Israel referred to as "the Jewish Nobel prize." As a result, cultural minister of Israel Miri Regev even said she had "fallen like ripe fruit into the hands" of anti-Israeli activists. Portman made an official statement via Instagram to make her position clear. To be certain, she merely doesn't want to appear to endorse Netanyahu who was going to make a speech at the event. She wanted to specifically distance herself from the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">NEW from Natalie Portman: “The mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values.” <br><br>Full statement: <a href="https://t.co/hADjgaC0dz">https://t.co/hADjgaC0dz</a> <a href="https://t.co/vp92H621OW">pic.twitter.com/vp92H621OW</a></p>— IfNotNow (@IfNotNowOrg) <a href="https://twitter.com/IfNotNowOrg/status/987481480233353217?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote>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.</blockquote>
The Genesis Prize ceremony was canceled after Portman made the initial announcement that she wouldn't be attending. She will however be accepting the $2 million in prize money and donating it to Israeli charities to be determined.