Natalie Portman Breaks Silence on Refusing Israel Trip: "I Am Not Part of the BDS Movement"

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"My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others," the actress wrote Friday.

Natalie Portman has broken her silence on why she declined to travel to Israel in order to receive the Genesis Prize as the 2018 honoree. The Genesis Prize Foundation has since canceled this year's ceremony.

In a statement Friday, the Annihilation actress says her reasoning has been mischaracterized. "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," she wrote, referring to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions group that protests Israel over its treatment of Palestinians and the West Bank.

The Genesis Prize Foundation announced that it was canceling its award ceremony in a Thursday press release that quoted a representative for Portman saying that "recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her" and that "she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony."

Israel's minister for culture and sports has since denounced the actress's decision, writing that he was saddened to hear she "has fallen as a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters."

PACBI, the academic and cultural arm of the BDS movement, meanwhile, praised Portman for refusing "to whitewash, or art-wash, Israeli crimes and apartheid policies."

The actress noted in her statement, "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."

Portman then said not to "take any words that do not come directly from me as my own" and said that she would subsequently be supporting multiple charities in Israel, which she would announce at a later date.

Read the statement 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.