Natalie Portman’s Empty “Stand” Against Antisemitism

Hollywood actress Natalie Portman has decided enough is enough, and she has sprung into action against antisemitism – by publishing a post on Instagram:

She seems to be reacting to the upswing in blatant, Kanye West-inspired Jew hatred, but antisemitism has not just “re-emerged.” It stayed, festered and morphed into “anti-Zionism”, and only now has broken the shackles again.

Portman, in fact, has unwittingly played a part in emboldening some modern-day antisemites. You may recall that in 2018, after being awarded the Genesis Prize, she refused it and refused to attend the ceremony in Israel, all because Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza. Publicly, she claimed something else:

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

Portman was demonizing Netanyahu before you-know-who made it fashionable:

As for implying we are mistreating palestinian Arabs and committing “atrocities” against them, this amplifies a bogus claim of today’s antisemites, and dismisses our right to defend ourselves against terrorism.

It turned out that Portman was not being truthful, as email correspondence between Portman and the Genesis Prize Foundation later revealed:

Amit Segal: Natalie Portman claimed she cancelled because of Netanyahu and not because of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Well, from the emails sent by her people. Here is the e-mail correspondence from 2.4 between her people and the Genesis people. There is no Netanyahu and there is Gaza.

Mail from Natalie Portman’s rep 2.4.18: “We have been following the news from Gaza with growing concern and we are worried that it won’t be appropriate to hold the ceremony given the government’s actions and the latest escalation.”

Response from Genesis Prize Foundation 2.4.18: “Regarding cancelling the ceremony, we have no plan to discuss that. The events in Gaza are the results of planned actions by Hamas, that are meant to sacrifice civilians for political benefit. Cancelling the ceremony of this most prestigious Jewish prize in the world will play into the hands of Hamas and will be a slap in the face of the nation in Israel.”

Portman’s disgraceful actions even led one blogger to call her an antisemite.

Anyone can publish some words on Instagram, condemning blatant antisemitism and expressing empty platitudes like “this hatred must be combatted with boundless love for each other” (while I am a firm believer in loving each other, antisemitism must be tackled with a stick, not just a carrot). It are one’s actions that speak louder than words, and here, Natalie Portman has failed miserably.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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