JERUSALEM (JTA) — Actress Natalie Portman originally told the Genesis Prize that she was canceling her participation in the award ceremony in Jerusalem over Israel’s actions in quelling Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza.
Hadashot in a report Monday night quoted an email from Portman’s representatives dated April 2.
“We have followed the recent news from Gaza with growing worry, and we are concerned that it is not appropriate to hold a ceremony given the government’s actions and the latest escalation,” the email said.
Genesis, according to Hadashot, rejected her reasoning.
“Canceling the award ceremony … would be a slap in the face of the people of Israel,” it said.
Portman’s decision to eschew the prize ceremony scheduled for June was announced on Thursday night by the Genesis Prize.
The following day, the actress said in a statement posted on social media that “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. By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it.”
On Tuesday, the Jewish Insider cited “multiple sources” in reporting that Portman’s representatives had asked the Genesis Prize to cite a scheduling conflict as the reason she could not attend the ceremony.
The Jewish Insider also cited an unnamed source as saying that Genesis tried to accommodate her concerns not to appear to be endorsing Netanyahu, but she insisted that the premier not be invited to the event.
That demand was “a bridge to far,” the site quoted a source as saying.