Israeli officials ‘saddened to hear’ Natalie Portman will decline award

After a representative for Jewish actress Natalie Portman confirmed she had canceled a planned trip to Israel to receive a humanitarian award, officials in that nation have expressed their disappointment with her decision.

Minister for Culture and Sports Miri Regev said she was “saddened to hear that Natalie Portman has fallen as a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters.”

The actress’ decision is seen by some as a nod to so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions efforts to target Israel’s economy.

“Natalie, a Jewish actress who was born in Israel, now joins those who refer to the success and wonder of the rebirth of Israel as ‘a tale of darkness and darkness,'” Regev said, referring to Portman’s 2015 film “A Tale of Love and Darkness.”

A representative for the actress explained her decision to decline the Genesis Award, saying that “she cannot in good conscience move forward with the ceremony” in light of “[r]ecent events in Israel.”

The move was praised by BDS supporters, including activist group PACBI.

“After decades of egregious human rights violations against Palestinians, Israel’s recent massacre of peaceful protesters in Gaza has made its brand so toxic that even well-known Israeli-American cultural figures, like Natalie Portman, now refuse to blatantly whitewash, or art-wash, Israeli crimes and apartheid policies,” the organization wrote in a statement.

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