Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party condemned Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman on Saturday for refusing to accept the $2 million Genesis Prize because of her opposition to him and his government.
“Such hypocrisy!” the party said in a statement on Saturday, according to the Times of Israel. “Natalie Portman speaks about democracy but she supported the V15 organization that tried, through foreign government funding, to disrupt democratic elections in Israel.”
V15, an anti-Netanyahu get-out-the-vote organization that received nearly $350,000 from the U.S. State Department, reportedly recorded an ad featuring Portman in response to a Likud campaign ad featuring Chuck Norris, but never released it.
“Portman speaks about human rights but takes part in festivals in countries that censor films and whose human rights record is far beneath that of Israel,” the Likud statement continued. “No excuse can help. Portman simply refuses to accept the choice of the people of Israel.”
Last year, Portman was awarded the Genesis Prize, which calls itself the “Jewish Nobel Prize,” but [said](https://forward.com/fast-forward/399386/natalie-portman-breaks-silence-on-prize-snub-and-bds/ on Friday that she refused to travel to Israel to attend the award ceremony because she “did not want to appear as endorsing … Netanyahu,” who would also be present.
The Oscar-winning actress denied that she supported the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
“Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation,” she said in her statement.
But Likud politicians have slammed her anyway. Culture Minister Miri Regev said that Portman had “fallen like a ripe fruit into the hands of the BDS movement supporters,” while Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz argued that “Boycotting Israel has elements of anti-Semitism.”
Likud Slams Natalie Portman For Refusing Genesis Prize