Natalie Portman has revealed why she declined to travel to Israel to receive the Genesis Prize.

Portman released a statement that said her reasons for declining have been misinterpreted. “My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others. Let me speak for myself. I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony,” she continued. “By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it.” BDS stands for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which is protesting Israel’s treatment of the people of Palestine and the West Bank.

 

 

The ceremony has since been canceled.

Israel’s Minister of Culture and sports said she’s saddened Portman “has fallen as a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters.”

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Portman’s statement added the only words people should believe are her own. “Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me as my own.”

The full statement is below.

My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others. 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. By the same token, I am not part of the BDS 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. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.

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.