Photo Credit: Ariel Quiroz via Flickr
Natalie Portman

The Genesis Prize on Saturday made it official: there will not be a prize ceremony in Israel this June, because the 2018 recipient, Natalie Portman, is not coming. However, according to Ha’aretz, Portman has no intention of giving back the $2 million prize money, which she will donate to the cause of her choice.

Natalie Portman has not expressed any intention to return the $2 million prize she received from the Genesis Prize Foundation, a source at the organization said…

“We have not received any information of the sort,” the source told Haaretz when asked whether Portman would return the money…  leading the Genesis Prize Foundation to conclude she would keep the funds and donate them as planned.

The Israeli-born actress posted the following explanation on Instagram:

“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.”

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Which is as good a place as any to wonder out loud why the heck does the prime minister of Israel endorse a prize that gives money to entitled American Jews so they could give it forward to a third party? It’s true that the PM did not initiate this idol-worshiping ceremony of bowing before celebrities, but couldn’t he suggest better recipients, such as worthy Israeli endeavors? There are so many charities, startups, initiatives, incubators pressing against one another in the Jewish State – why not pick one of them?

Portman, meanwhile, was offended when we suggested her snub of her country of birth would make the growing Hollywood BDS camp very happy, she insisted:

“By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it,” adding, “Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation.”

But you are boycotting the entire nation – you literally are. Not showing up to a ceremony in which you agreed to participated back in November means you are boycotting Israel. You really think the anti-Israel dark forces out there distinguish between the bone you pick with Netanyahu and a declaration of enmity toward the entire state?

“I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance,” Porter continued, apparently believing that eating a falafel in Fairfax would balance out this hurtful blow to the people of her homeland.

And so, the brave Natalie Portman announced: “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.”

OK, does giving back $2 million that don’t belong to you count as part of your Jewish values, Ms. Portman?

She concluded: “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.”

And so the good people of B’Tselem and Peace Now will get to hound the Jews of Judea and Samaria, and the nice ladies of Machsom Watch will get to harass IDF soldiers with renewed energy – because, call us haters, but we kind of expect Portman’s stolen loot to go into their bank accounts.

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) has already tweeted that Israelis should boycott Portman’s films (we watched her latest, “Annihilation,” a horror flick from Netflix and it’s delicious, what can we say, the girl is very talented), and he even urged Interior Minister Aryeh Dery (Shas) to revoke her Israeli citizenship. So, if you’re rushing to comment on this story, you should know those two options are taken. But there’s always the tar and feather option, the pillory, the shaving of the head.

Here’s what I would like to see: Mr. Netanyahu, take down that stupid prize. Say thank you to the Jewish-Russian oligarchs who invented it, but the State of Israel will no longer grovel at the feet of famous American Jews and pay them to like us. Please, Bibi, show us your spine.

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