Natalie Portman explains why she pulled out of Israel Honour ceremony

Washington: Oscar-winning star Natalie Portman, whose decision to skip a very prestigious honour in Israel has been “mischaracterized by others”, has explained her side of the story.

The ‘Annihilation’ star, in her explanation, said she didn’t want to give the impression that she supported the actions of Israel’s current government by attending the Genesis Prize ceremony.

“Let me speak for myself. I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony,” she explained in a social media post.

“By the same token, I am not part of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and do not endorse it.”

“Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance.”

“Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values,” she wrote. “Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.”

She added, “Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me as my own. This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel. I will be announcing them soon, and I hope others will join me in supporting the great work they are doing.”

The 36-year-old was announced as the honoree of the Genesis Prize Laureate, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Israel in November.

Following Portman’s decision, the organisation, Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF), decided to cancel its annual ceremony which was scheduled for June 28.