Natalie Portman’s decision to cancel her upcoming trip to Israel to accept a special award has been met by equal measures of anger and dismay in the Jewish state.
Anti-Israel activists, however, have applauded her decision and claim vindication for their cause.
It was announced back in November that the “Black Swan” star 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.”
After first happily accepting the accolade, Portman subsequently decided to boycott the award ceremony in Jerusalem, sparking a fierce response in her birthplace.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev expressed personal regret over Portman’s decision before accusing the Hollywood actress of succumbing to the pressures of the BDS movement.
“Natalie, a Jewish actress who was born in Israel, joins those who see the story of the wondrous success of the rebirth of Israel as a “story of darkness and darkness,” Regev said, referencing the film “A Tale of Love and Darkness” in which Portman had starred.
Regev suggested the actress was supporting anti-Israel activists.
“I was sorry to hear that Natalie Portman fell like a ripe fruit into the hands of supporters of the BDS,” Regev said.
Likud MK Oren Hazan was not happy to leave it at that. She went further and called for Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to revoke Portman’s citizenship.
“The idea of awarding the Genesis Prize to Natalie Portman was a bad idea from the outset. She is an Israeli Jew who on the one hand cynically uses her origin to advance her career, and on the other hand boasts that she has managed to avoid being drafted into the IDF. She is an actress in every sense of the word but does not deserve any award from the State of Israel.”
Meanwhile, PACBI, the academic and cultural arm of the BDS movement, praised Portman’s move.
“After decades of egregious human rights violations against Palestinians, Israel’s recent massacre of peaceful protesters in Gaza has made its brand so toxic that even well-known Israeli-American cultural figures, like Natalie Portman, now refuse to blatantly whitewash, or art-wash, Israeli crimes and apartheid policies,” it said in a statement.