American actress Natalie Portman has turned down an invitation to attend a festival in Israel - where she had been slated to receive an award - to protest ongoing Israeli violence against Palestinians, Israeli media reported on Friday.
In Israel, the organizers for the Genesis Prize, known as Israel's Nobel Prize, have been forced to cancel the upcoming award ceremony, after the victor of this year's prize, American-Israeli actress Natalie Portman, said she is refusing to travel to Israel to participate because of her distress over recent events.
"She can not in good conscience move forward with the ceremony", her rep said Thursday.
As an Israeli, Portman has largely steered clear of politics, although she has expressed criticism of the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying in 2015 she was "very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected" and found "his racist comments horrific". Portman was announced as the honoree in November.
Both the United Nations and European Union have recently called for investigations into the Israeli army's use of live ammunition on Palestinians during the "Great March of Return" protests that have been taking place in Gaza since 30 March.
"I was sorry to hear that Natalie Portman fell like a ripe fruit into the hands of supporters of the BDS", Regev said. The prize, which has previously been awarded to actor Michael Douglas and violinist Itzhak Perlman, comes with $2 million this year and is presented at a flashy Jerusalem ceremony attended by dignitaries and local celebrities. "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'". The Genesis Prize is given to those who are considered an inspiration to the future generation of Jews through their commitment to Jewish values, social justice, tolerance and charity. Israel's military says its actions are meant to defend its border from attackers posing as protestors who would likely cross the boundary illegally, and therefore harm Israeli communities and soldiers.
Hasan claimed decried Portman as "an Israeli Jewess who on the one hand makes cynical use of her origins in order to advance her career and who, on the other hand, prides herself on having avoided being drafted into the IDF".
Worldwide guests were expected to fly to Jerusalem to honor the actress and celebrate the contribution of Jewish women to humanity.
It was not immediately clear what events Portman was referring to, but over the past three weeks, Israel has come under increasing pressure from worldwide organizations and human rights groups for using excessive force in dealing with Palestinian civil unrest in the Gaza Strip. "I do not. I don't want to do that".