Here's Why Natalie Portman Backed Out Of Attending Israeli Award Ceremony In Her Own Words
A day after news broke out that Natalie Portman opted to skip out of an award ceremony in her home country, Israel, the actress finally reveals the real reason behind her choice.
The 36-year-old thespian was invited to grace the Genesis Prize ceremony on June 28, as she was revealed to be 2018's Genesis Prize Laureate in November last year. Because of her cancellation, the organization had to nix the event altogether, fearing their organization might be "politicized."
The organization was told by Portman's representative that distressing events in the Asian country had been one of her reasons for not attending the ceremony. Furthermore, the spokesperson said the Oscar Award winner was "not comfortable participating in any public events in Israel."
Being the awardee would mean that Portman will receive $1 million, which according to the press release of the organization, would be donated to programs that focus on women's equality. The Genesis Prize acknowledges exceptional individuals who serve as role models to Jews.
To refrain further misunderstandings and hearsays on the matter, Portman decided to air her statement. This was also done to clarify her decision and ultimately, without batting an eyelash, reveal the reason behind her cancellation.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, was supposed to give a speech during Portman's acceptance ceremony and she said she didn't want her attendance to be misinterpreted like she was endorsing the politician. The Black Swan actress also explained she was not a part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The Star Wars actress further underlined her right to be critical of the administration in her birth country without having to protest against the whole Israel. Portman explained her deep love of her roots and the country's culture and pointed out that it became a sanctuary for refugees during the Holocaust.
"But the mistreatment of those suffering from today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power," Portman said.
Her statement came on the heels of a statement by Miri Regev, Israel's culture minister, that insinuated that Portman joined the BDS campaign. Since opting to pull out on her supposed-to-be appearance, she also drew flak from Israel's Likud party. Politician Oren Hazan even requested for her Israeli citizenship to be revoked.
However, this wasn't the first time Portman expressed her disagreement with the leader of Israel. In a 2015 interview with Hollywood Reporter, she explained she was against Netanyahu and was dismayed that the politician was reelected.