Amid Palestinian Clashes, Natalie Portman Refuses to Accept Award in Israel over ‘Political Reasons’

Black Swan star Natalie Portman has cancelled her upcoming trip to Israel and rejected the chance to attend an acceptance ceremony hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty

“Black Swan” star Natalie Portman has canceled her upcoming trip to Israel and rejected the chance to attend an acceptance ceremony hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation.

The Jerusalem-born Oscar winner’s decision not to attend the event follows Israel’s strong response to Palestinian terrorist attacks across the Gaza border.

It was announced back in November that Portman had won the 2018 Genesis Prize, which is acclaimed as the ‘Jewish Nobel’ and honors “extraordinary individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement, commitment to Jewish values and to the Jewish people.”

Previous winners include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor Michael Douglas, musician Itzhak Perlman and sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor.

Portman said she was “deeply touched and humbled by the honor” when the prize was first announced, and said she’s “proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage.”

On Thursday, however, the Genesis Prize Foundation announced that she would no longer be attending.

“Ms. Portman is a highly accomplished actress, a committed social activist and a wonderful human being. The staff of the Foundation enjoyed getting to know her over the past six months, admires her humanity, and respects her right to publicly disagree with the policies of the government of Israel,” the organization said in a statement.

“However, we are very saddened that she has decided not to attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem for political reasons. We fear that Ms. Portman’s decision will cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicized, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid.”

In December, New Zealand starlet Lorde also canceled a concert in Tel Aviv after she cited an “overwhelming number of messages & letters” urging her to join an “artistic boycott” driven by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement .

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