Under Pressure, Natalie Portman Reverses Her Position on Israel

Israeli-American Hollywood actress, Natalie Portman defended previous comments on her decision to turn down an invitation to a ceremony in Israel to receive a million-dollar prize by denying support for the BDS movement.

Portman’s representative said in an earlier statement to the awarding body:

Portman’s decision was interpreted by Israeli press as a protest to Israel’s violent handling of the Great March of Return demonstrations along the southern border with Gaza, and support for the boycott of Israel. However, soon after facing a backlash from Israeli officials over her presumed pro-BDS position, she explained in a new Instagram post that her intention was to avoid endorsing the government of Israeli rightwing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Portman pointed out that her words were mischaracterized by others, asserting her pride of Israel’s founding as a haven for refugees from Holocaust 70 years ago, and treasured her Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance. She made no mention of Palestinian suffering as a result of the Israeli siege and military occupation.

Portman’s retreat exposed her to criticism from academics and pro-Palestinian activists. Author Shailja Patel? tweeted:

35 Palestinians have been shot dead and hundreds wounded over the four Fridays of the Great March of Return movement, which started on the Palestinian Land Day, March 30th, and is planned to continue till May 15th, which marks the 70th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe).

An Israeli minister said to Portman she has been hoodwinked by Hamas propaganda and invited her to come and see the truth.

Gilad Erdan, Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister, said in his message:

Senior officials in Israel’s governing Likud slammed the Israeli-American actress for cancelling the visit. The culture minister said Portman has fallen like ripe fruit into the hands of BDS supporters.

In addition, a Knesset member demanded the authorities revoke her citizenship.

Source: Palestine Chronicle