Natalie Portman cancels Israel trip to accept Genesis Prize

Natalie Portman cancels Israel trip to accept Genesis Prize

Hollywood star Natalie Portman has cancelled her trip to Israel where she was set to receive the Genesis Prize as she "disagrees with the policies of the government of Israel."

The Genesis Prize, which honours notable individuals "who inspire others through their dedication to the Jewish community and Jewish values," has cancelled its annual ceremony in Israel after Portman's decision to not take part in the event, scheduled to happen in June.

The actor had been announced as the honouree in November by the organisation.

"Ms Portman is a highly accomplished actress, a committed social activist and a wonderful human being. The staff of the Foundation enjoyed getting to know her over the past six months, admires her humanity, and respects her right to publicly disagree with the policies of the government of Israel.

"However, we are very saddened that she has decided not to attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem for political reasons. We fear that Ms Portman's decision will cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicised, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid," read a statement from the Genesis Prize.

Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, has openly criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the past, telling The Hollywood Reporter in a 2015 interview, "I'm very much against Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected."

Last year, in December, singer Lorde had cancelled a planned concert date in Israel's Tel Aviv amid protests for artists to boycott performing in the country. Earlier in 2017, Radiohead similarly faced criticism ahead of its July 19 concert in the city.

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