Natalie Portman 'unworthy of any honor' says Israeli politician

Kelvin Reese
April 22, 2018

The award ceremony - endowed with $2 million (1.6 million euros) - scheduled for June 28 has been cancelled.

Rachel Azaria, a member of the centrist Kulanu party that is part of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition, said Portman's cancellation should serve as a "warning light" to Israel. "By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it", Portman said.

In a statement, the 36-year-old said: "Let me speak for myself".

Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, had accused Portman on Friday of having followed drift of boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates Israel's economic isolation to force it to end occupation of territories Palestinians it exerts since 1967.

The prize foundation had the day before announced Portman's decision not to attend the ceremony.

Without Portman's participation this year, Genesis Foundation has announced that it would cancel the ceremony out of fears that her decision would "cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicized, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid".

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Portman's prize snub sparked angry reaction from Israeli officials, with lawmaker Oren Hazan calling for the revocation of her citizenship. I treasure family and my friendsfood items, books, art, cinema, and dancing.

According to the foundation's website, the Genesis Prize is given to those people who are considered to be an inspiration to the future generation of the Jews via the commitment they have towards Jewish values, social justice, tolerance and charity.

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. Israel was born being a haven for refugees.

She added: "But the mistreatment of those suffering from today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values".

Portman said because she cares about Israel, "I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power". However, in her recent statement Portman claimed that she is going to support a number of charities in Israel. Israel has met significant worldwide criticism for its response to protests on the Gaza border in which dozens of Palestinians have been killed. "I have done a lot of peaceful protesting in my time, and what Palestinians in Gaza are doing at the Great March of Return is the exact same thing", they said.

"In addition to honoring Ms. Portman, the ceremony in Jerusalem was meant to highlight the work of women's rights NGOs working on women's equality and empowerment issues", the Foundation said, in the statement published Friday. Protesters also flew dozens of kites, in some cases carrying Molotov cocktails, in a new tactic that had led to at least a couple of small fires in Israeli territory this week.

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