On Thursday, april 19th 2018, the Genesis Prize Foundation announced it was canceling its 2018 award ceremony after the Oscar-winning actor had informed it that “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel.”
Portman’s representative told the foundation that “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony.”
“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,” the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) said in a statement welcoming the news.
Awarded by extremists
The Genesis Prize is promoted as the “Jewish Nobel” and is awarded by committees including far-right anti-Palestinian figures such as Israeli politicians Natan Sharansky and Yuli Edelstein; Eli Groner, the director of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau; and Fiamma Nirenstein, an Italian-Jewish anti-Palestinian activist and former lawmaker who Netanyahu attempted to appoint as Israel’s ambassador to Rome.
As the prize winner, Portman had been awarded $2 million to donate to philanthropic causes of her choosing.
Another extreme-right Israeli politician, culture minister Miri Regev, stated, “I was sorry to hear that Natalie Portman fell into the hands of the BDS supporters.”
“Portman, a Jewish actress born in Israel, joins those who tell the successful, wondrous founding of the State of Israel as ‘a tale of darkness and darkness,’” Regev added.
Oren Hazan, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s Likud Party with a history of violent and racist incitement, and harassment of female and Arab lawmakers, demanded that Portman’s Israeli citizenship be revoked.
It is a considerable embarrassment that even Portman, known for roles in the Star Wars movies, is unwilling to associate her name and image with Israel.
In 2015, Portman publicly expressed her opposition to Netanyahu’s government, but said she would not use her “platform” to “you know, shit on Israel.”
While Portman did not specify which “recent events” she found unpalatable, there is little doubt that this was a reference to Israel’s weeks of calculated violence directed at unarmed protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip that has killed more than 30 Palestinians, including four children and a journalist, and injured thousands.
(This entire posts is quoted almost entirely verbatim from the site of Electronic Intifada)