Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Natalie Portman pulls out of award ceremony in Israel for 'political reasons'

Natalie Portman pulls out of award ceremony in Israel for 'political reasons'

In her explanation, Portman says she didn't want to give the impression that she supported the actions of Israel's current government by attending, though she also notes she is not part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement now calling for a boycott of Israel in support of Palestinians. In response to an ugly smear campaign against her run by Israel lobby figures in the USA, over one hundred artists, including Hollywood stars, signed a letter in the Guardian supporting her.

Oren Hazan, an Israeli politican and legislator, has stated that the actress should be stripped of her Israeli citizenship for her decision and described the incident as "complete craziness".

Israel has drawn global criticism for its response to Palestinian protests on the Gaza-Israel border during the last three weeks, in which its troops have killed 35 Palestinians have wounded hundreds. She is expressing now the voices of many in U.S. Jewry, mainly those of the young generation.

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The prize was founded in 2013 to commemorate Jewish achievements and contributions to humanity.

Portman was announced as the victor of the 2018 Genesis Prize in November.

Portman's decision provoked heavy criticism from Israel's governing Likud party, with one politician calling for her to be stripped of her citizenship. It is unknown if Portman will still recieve the $2 million prize money.

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The daily protests, dubbed "The Great March of Return", began on March 30 along the Israel-Gaza frontier, reviving a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families fled or were driven out when the state of Israel was created. Nor was she looking to return the additional grant promised by an Israeli philanthropist. "The prize money will be distributed by the Genesis Prize Foundation, not by Ms. Portman". According to the foundation the ceremony honoring Ginsburg will take place as scheduled in Jerusalem during July with Ginsburg in attendance.

The actor had planned to donate the money to worldwide and Israeli organisations dedicated to women's causes and had already notified the foundation of this decision.

The 36-year-old has previous stood against the BDS movement, protesting efforts to keep the Toronto International Film Festival from staging a Tel Aviv-themed event in 2009.

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In the year 2015, the actress told The Hollywood Reporter that she disagreed with the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netan's policies by saying that she is very much against Netanyahu and is very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected. As a result, she does not feel comfortable taking part. You know, shit on Israel.

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