Natalie Portman explains why she refused to accept the Genesis Prize

Natalie Portman speaking at the Environmental Media Association’s 27th Annual EMA Awards in Santa Monica, Sep 23, 2017. (photo: Jerod Harris / Getty Images)

It’s about Netanyahu.

By Staff | Jewish Telegraphic Agency | Apr 20, 2018


“Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance. 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.”
— Natalie Portman


Natalie Portman said she wouldn’t attend a prize ceremony in Israel because of her feelings about its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and “atrocities” committed on his watch, but emphasized that she would not shun Israel itself.

The Jerusalem-born director and actor, posting Friday night on Instagram, explained her decision not to accept in person the $2 million Genesis Prize, which calls itself the “Jewish Nobel,” after a day of speculation in the media that she was turning down the prize because she was joining the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. The prize foundation had the day before announced Portman’s decision not to attend the ceremony.

“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,” said Portman, who in 2011 won a best actress Oscar.

“By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it,” Portman said.

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Steven Mnuchin to lead delegation of 250 to embassy opening in Jerusalem

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin holds a press conference during the IMF/World Bank spring meeting in Washington, DC, on Apr 21, 2018. (photo: Andrew Caballer-Reynolds / AFP)

Group to include Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham, Jewish leaders and heads of pro-Israel evangelical Christian organizations.

By Staff | The Times of Israel | Apr 22, 2018


Trump, who formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the embassy relocation on December 6, had mulled attending the inauguration, but reportedly decided against it.


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is to lead a delegation of 250 people from the United States, including some 40 politicians, to the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem next month, Channel 10 news reported Sunday.

Mnuchin will be accompanied by US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as 40 senators and representatives, the report said.

The Times of Israel first reported last week that Kushner and Ivanka Trump were likely to attend.

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Palestine files complaint against Israel under anti-racism treaty

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 Israeli teenagers climb on a tank decorated with flags before Memorial Day last week. (photo: Abir Sultan / EPA)

Complaint with UN claims Israel maintains a “system of discriminatory measures.”

By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | Apr 23, 2018


“Not only is the purpose of the settlement regime discriminatory in itself, it is further maintained by a system of discriminatory measures, severely depriving Palestinians of their fundamental rights.”


Palestinian diplomats in Geneva have filed a complaint against Israel for what they say are breaches of its obligations under a UN anti-racism treaty, triggering what may be a lengthy and high-profile investigation.

The complaint, handed in by the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Khraishi, to the body that monitors the implementation of the UN convention, accuses Israel of policies and practices that have “the common aim of displacing and replacing the Palestinian people, for the purpose of maintaining a colonial occupation.”

Violations in the occupied territories, which the complaint defined as the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, sought to maintain “a Jewish demographic majority in the entirety of historic Palestine,” claims the 350-page document, of which the Guardian has seen a summary.

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BDS applauds Natalie Portman’s rejection of the “Jewish Nobel” prize

Natalie Portman at the 2018 Kingdom Day Parade in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan 15, 2018. (photo: Faye Sadou / MediaPunch / IPX)

The actress said that recent events in Israel have been “extremely distressing” and that she does “not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel.”

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | Apr 21, 2018


“After decades of egregious human rights violations against Palestinians, Israel’s recent massacre of peaceful protesters in Gaza has made its brand so toxic that even well-known Israeli-American cultural figures, like Natalie Portman, now refuse to blatantly whitewash, or art-wash, Israeli crimes and apartheid policies.”
— Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) statement


In an unexpected rebuke, Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman has declined to attend the June award ceremony for the Genesis Prize, sometimes nicknamed the “Jewish Nobel,” citing recent and “distressing” events in Israel. Portman, in declining to receive the prize, will still receive $2 million in prize money, which she previously announced she would be donating to programs focused on advancing gender equality. Her mention of “distressing” events in Israel is an apparent reference to the brutal crackdown and murder of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians in Gaza have been participating in the “March of Great Return” since March 30. The march is aimed at securing the right of exiled Palestinians to return to historical Palestine. The protests have been widely attended — attracting thousands of participants — but have been targeted by the Israeli military, which has opened fire on the protesters numerous times, killing at least 35, including journalists, and wounding nearly 2,000 people.

Israel’s government has come under fire for its repression of the protests, but Israel has defended the actions of its soldiers, claiming that the protesters presented a threat to the border wall. However, many Jews — including Israelis — have been critical of Israel’s response and lack of concern regarding the deaths of protesters.

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France requests that Israel stop banning its elected officials

Gennevilliers Mayor Leclerc Patrice. (photo: Twitter)

Israel denied entry to the mayor of a Paris suburb this week because he is believed to have supported BDS.

By Noa Landau | Haaretz | Apr 17, 2018


“The decision not to let him into the country was made for a series of reasons in connection to his activity in the BDS movement and his promotion of boycotts against Israel.”
— Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry statement


France requested that elected officials be permitted to enter Israel and the Palestinian territories, its Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, a day after Israel prevented the mayor of a Paris suburb from entering because of his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

A spokesperson for the ministry said Patrice Leclerc’s planned visit was part of attempts to supervise implementation of international programs in the Palestinian territories.

Israel’s Interior Ministry said that Leclerc, who is mayor of Gennevilliers, was blocked from entering Israel through Jordan, while the French ministry said Tuesday that he was detained for several hours on the Israel-Jordan border.

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Inspiring Hope: The Kids4Peace Seattle Annual Benefit (Tomorrow)

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Please join our brothers and sisters at Join Kids4Peace Seattle for their fifth annual spring celebration!

Date: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2017
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple De Hirsch Sinai
1441 16th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
Information: Event information here →
Email questions here →
Tickets: $50 per person
Register here →
Event Details

Help us recognize the many successes of the past year as we also look forward with excitement to upcoming programs. You will hear directly from youth involved in Kids4Peace and get updates on our work in the US and Jerusalem.

Tickets are $50 per person; there will be an opportunity to make an additional pledge of support at the event. The ticket price is fully tax-deductible, and all donations go directly to support the work of Kids4Peace as we develop a new generation of peace leaders.

Wine and coffee will be served, along with a delicious dessert buffet. Continue reading

State Department strikes “Occupied Territories” from human rights report

Acting secretary of state John Sullivan speaks at the release of the 2017 human rights report Friday at the State Department. (photo: Win Mcnamee / Getty Images)

Instead, this year’s report refers to “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza.”

By Carol Morello | The Washington Post | Apr 20, 2018


“[Israel] did maintain generally that all incidents [of alleged abuse] were thoroughly investigated and parties held accountable, as appropriate, according to due process of law.”
— 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices


The State Department’s annual human rights report released Friday drops references to reproductive rights for women and stops using the phrase “Occupied Territories” to describe Israel’s presence in Gaza and the West Bank.

The report, which covers 2017, focuses less on societal attitudes and discrimination than in previous years and more on governmental actions that encourage or reward violence and bigotry. It is the first human rights report to reflect the Trump administration’s views and priorities.

Previous reports included a lengthy section devoted to Israel and the Occupied Territories. Last year’s report mentioned human rights problems and said the Israeli government took “some steps” to punish officials who committed abuses.

This year, the section is titled “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza.” The introduction to it notes that the State Department sought an Israeli response to allegations of abuse and that Israel “did maintain generally that all incidents were thoroughly investigated and parties held accountable, as appropriate, according to due process of law.”

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