In her latest performance, Natalie Portman plays the role of a committed Zionist torn between accepting the prestigious Genesis Prize from Israel, which includes a $2 million prize, or refusing the award because of her deeply held beliefs as a progressive (“Portman Testing Boundaries Of Israel Criticism,” April 27).
Portman goes back and forth as she considers whether she should accept a prize that is designed to promote pride among Jews worldwide or stick to her image as a feminist, vegan, and supporter of the rights of the downtrodden.
At first, she agrees to accept the prize, but only if she doesn’t have to sit next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later she decides that it is more important to demonstrate her opposition to Netanyahu than to project the image of supporting the current administration’s policies and announces that she will not accept the prize. The ceremony is cancelled just a few weeks before it is scheduled to occur.
I found Portman’s performance totally unconvincing. A true Zionist would have put the benefits of accepting the award ahead of her own need to be seen as only supporting the causes that have the approval of the left-wing crowd. Also, I don’t believe that a Harvard-educated woman couldn’t comprehend that the award, which is non-political, could possibly be seen as an endorsement of the current prime minister. Finally, why would a woman who plays the role of an ardent feminist turn down an award that would have allowed her to direct $2 million in prize money to aiding Israeli programs for women?
I’m hoping that there is a sequel in which she learns the error of her ways and plays the role of a brave Zionist who puts the truth above demands that she follow the dictates of the leftist Hollywood pack which is intent on portraying Israel as an apartheid, oppressive nation. Until then, however, I will avoid watching any shows in which Portman appears.
Forest Hills, Queens