Israeli officials have condemned actress Natalie Portman’s recent decision to forego an award ceremony in the country, citing political reasons.
On Friday, Israel’s minister for culture and sports accused Portman, who was born in Israel, for falling prey to liberal Hollywood views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I was saddened to hear that Natalie Portman has fallen as a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters,” said Miri Regev, linking the actress with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. “Natalie, a Jewish actress who was born in Israel, now joins those who refer to the success and wonder of the rebirth of Israel as ‘a tale of darkness and darkness.’”
Regev’s statement referred to Portman’s 2015 directorial debut, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” which was shot in Jeruslem. The film is an adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Israeli author Amos Oz.
Portman was selected to receive the Genesis Prize for her work but pulled out Thursday. In a statement sent to event organizers, one of Portman’s reps said, “Recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel,” adding that “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony.”
The Genesis Prize is a $1 million award given to individuals “who inspire others through their dedication to the Jewish community and Jewish values.” The Genesis Prize Foundation announced Portman as the honoree back in November.
The award ceremony, which was set to take place in June, was abruptly cancelled following Portman’s announcement.
Portman’s decision to not attend generated intense backlash on social media, as the announcement coincided with Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.
“She’s spitting in her homeland’s face on our most celebratory day,” wrote one online commenter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Others went so far as to label Portman’s decision “treason” and “a shameful elitist choice against her fellow countrymen.”
If Natalie Portman has decided to be stupid and adopt these crazy ideas then like others she should be denied entry and be declared persona non grata for her act of treason.
— chavinski (@chavalinski) April 20, 2018
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) April 20, 2018
Several commenters suggested that the award be given to “Superwoman” actress Gal Gadot, who “represents our country with great honor.”
(H/T: The Hollywood Reporter)