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Actress Natalie Portman turns down Israeli award over Gaza violence

Friday April 20, 2018 11:08 PM, News Network

Natalie Portman

Jerusalem: To protest the ongoing Israeli violence against Palestinians, American actress Natalie Portman has turned down an invitation to attend an event in Israel where she had been slated to receive an award, Israeli media reported on Friday.

Anadolu Agency citing Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Natalie Portman, who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, turned down the invitation as a means of protesting “recent events in Israel”. The actress had been slated to receive a prize awarded each year to internationally recognized Jewish personalities.

According to the newspaper, Portman's managers told the organizers of the Genesis Prize that the actress would be unable to attend due to “recent events in Israel” - an apparent reference to ongoing Israeli violence against Palestinian demonstrators arrayed along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border.

Israeli daily Haaretz, meanwhile, referred to a 2015 interview Portman gave to the Hollywood Reporter in which she expressed strong opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s Channel 2 quoted the award organizers as saying that Portman was “a highly respected actress and community activist. We respect her right to reject Israeli government policies”.

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, for her part, expressed her “regret” over Portman's decision, suggesting that the actress had “succumbed” to the pressures of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The BDS movement seeks to end international support for Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people. Since Palestinians first began holding mass rallies along Gaza’s eastern border on March 30, at least 36 protesters have been killed, and hundreds more injured, by cross-border Israeli army gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

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