Natalie Portman Declares Israel’s Nation-State Law ‘Racist’

Actress Natalie Portman attends the photocall of the movie 'Jackie' presented in competition at the 73rd Venice Film Festival on September 7, 2016 at Venice Lido. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Hollywood star Natalie Portman has criticized Israel’s Nation-State Law as “racist” just six months after she canceled a trip to the Jewish state.

Speaking to the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi , as translated by Haaretz, the Oscar-winner hit out at legislation that passed with majority support in the Knesset.

“It is a mistake and I don’t agree with it … [people’s] lives are [being] affected on a personal level by decisions made by politicians,” she added. “I only hope that we will be able to truly love our neighbours and that we can work together.”

The controversial law, which officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, was passed in July and its supporters called it “a pivotal moment in the annals of Zionism and the State of Israel.”

The legislation states that a “united Jerusalem” is the capital of Israel and names Hebrew as the country’s official language, relegating Arabic to that of “special status,” as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.

In April the Israel-born performer rejected the chance to attend an acceptance ceremony hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation in her homeland.

“Recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel,” a spokesperson said at the time, while Portman herself argued that her decision was because she didn’t want to be “appear as endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The Genesis Prize is a $1 million award given annually to Jewish people who have attained recognition and excellence in their fields.

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 in November 2017, and said she’s “proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage.”

Twelve months ago 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 .

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to:



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.