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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Natalie Portman renounces to Israel's Genesis Award

Por Rory

The Genesis prize, the so-called "Jewish Nobel" will remain this year without ceremony, the cause? The refusal to participate of the winner. Natalie Portman, the Israeli-American actress selected in 2018 to receive the award, worth about US $ 2 million, announced that she will not attend the gala, scheduled for next July, in response to the "recent painful events" recorded in that country.

In November it was announced that Portman, born in Jerusalem, was the winner of the Genesis 2018 Prize, an annual award that recognizes the "outstanding merits of people who have achieved excellence and international recognition in their professional field and that embody the values of the Jewish people."

"She does not feel comfortable with the idea of having to participate in public events in Israel," "she is not able to attend the ceremony with a clear conscience," said his representative in a statement. According to the Israeli press, Portman's decision is due to the events registered in recent weeks on the border with Gaza, where at least 38 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,000 were injured after clashes with the Israeli army. The announcement of the actress caused a stir in Israel, where both media and authorities described it as "boycott", "rude" or to join groups seeking the instability of the country. The Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, accused Portman of "falling as a ripe fruit in the hands of supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement" (BDS), which seeks the economic isolation of Israel in response to the occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967.

The Genesis Prize Foundation, which grants the award, although it assured that it respected the actress' decision, considered that it could "end up politicizing the philanthropic character" of the award. Criticism in both Israel and within the Jewish community in the United States led to the Oscar winner for The Black Swan to post a message on her Instagram account, which says her decision was "misinterpreted." But what arguments did she give to refuse to attend the ceremony? In the statement, Portman says she chose not to participate because she did not want to make it appear that she "supports" Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who would give a speech at the ceremony. She also rejected any association with the BDS movement or attempts to boycott the country.

"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 love my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, film and dance" assured the artist, who was born and lived in that country the first three years of her life.

However, according to Portman, certain events that are linked to her Jewish values forced her to refuse to attend the ceremony. "Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for the victims of the Holocaust, but the mistreatment of those who suffer today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. "As I worry about Israel, I have to face the violence, the corruption, inequality and the abuse of power ", indicates in the text. The actress announced that the "experience" after the rejection of the prize had inspired her to support a series of charities in Israel, which she would announce later.

But what has happened in that Middle East country in recent times? Last March 30, Palestinian groups began the so-called Long March of Return, a protest in which they demand the return of what they consider their territories occupied in 1967. The Palestinians describe it as a demonstration to draw attention to "the struggle of the hundreds of thousands of them who have been driven from their homes," while the Israeli government says it is a "dangerous provocation" that it can "be putting into risk lives ". Since then, at least 38 deaths and thousands of wounded have been reported and, according to the BBC correspondent there, Rushdi Abu Alouf, it has been the protest with the most victims since the conflict that confronted both sides in the summer of 2014.

The demonstration began the so-called Earth Day, in which Palestinians commemorate the death of six demonstrators in the hands of the Israeli security forces during the protests that took place that day in 1976 for the confiscation of their land. It is planned to extend until May 15, the day the Palestinians call Nakba (catastrophe) and which marks the displacement of hundreds of thousands of them after the conflict that led to the creation of Israel in 1948. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the protest is "a deliberate attempt to provoke a confrontation" and that "the responsibility of any confrontation will rest entirely with Hamas and other Palestinian organizations that participate."