Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Likud Party Issues Ferocious Response to Natalie Portman
Israel’s ruling Likud party hit back hard against a statement by Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman in which she said that the reason she refused to accept a high profile award in the country was because of her opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to Israel’s Channel 2, the party, which is led by Netanyahu, accused Portman of being an enemy of Israeli democracy, slamming her for claiming to have made her decision over concerns for human rights.
“What hypocrisy!” the party said in a statement. “Natalie Portman talks about democracy but supported the V-15 organization that tried through funding from foreign governments to disrupt a democratic election in Israel.”
“No excuse will help,” the statement added. “Portman simply refuses to accept the decision of the Israeli people.”
V-15, or Victory 2015, was an umbrella group founded in 2014 to support candidates in Israel’s 2015 general elections. It was openly opposed to Netanyahu.
Likud also attacked the actress on the issue of human rights, saying, “Portman talks about human rights, but takes part in festivals in countries that censor films and whose record on human rights is far from that of Israel.”
Portman initially issued a vague statement on why she chose not to accept the Genesis Prize — dubbed the “Jewish Nobel.” After significant backlash, she attempted to clarify her stance.
She stated that she does not support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Instead, “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.”
Portman has expressed strong opposition to Netanyahu in the past, telling The Hollywood Reporter in 2015, “I’m very much against Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was reelected. I find his racist comments horrific.”