Natalie Portman wants to make clear why she canceled a trip planned to receive a prestigious Israeli award after a government official in the country criticized her.
The 36-year-old Oscar-winning actress was announced as the honoree of the winner of the Genesis Prize, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Israel in November.
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the actress says her decision to "not attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been badly characterized by others."
I speak for myself I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as a support for Benjamin Netanyahu, who was going to give a speech at the ceremony, "he explained." For the same reason, I am not part of the BDS movement [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] and I do not approve. "
" Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott it. "The whole nation," Portman continued. "I value my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, film and dance."
"Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a refuge for Holocaust refugees, but the mistreatment of those who suffer today's atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values," he wrote. "Because I care about Israel, I have to face violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power."
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She added, "Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me like mine, this experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel, I will announce them soon, and I hope others will join me to support the great work they are doing. "
The actress also shared the statement on her Instagram account on Friday.
The move not to attend the ceremony in June, now canceled by The Genesis Prize Foundation, is believed to have been in part due to Israel's recent deadly shooting of Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border, according to ] The Hollywood Reporter .
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Miri Regev, Israel's Minister of Culture and Sports, criticized the actress for her decision, the television channel reported.
"I was sad to hear that Natalie Portman has fallen like a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters," Regev said, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the country. "Natalie, a Jewish actress who was born in Israel, now joins those who refer to the success and wonder of Israel's rebirth as a 'history of darkness'."
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The Genesis Prize Foundation also issued a statement on Thursday, saying that "recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing for her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public event in Israel," she added, "she can not with good conscience move forward with the ceremony."
He continued, "We are very sad that she decided not to attend the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem for political reasons, we are afraid that Ms. Portman's decision will make our philanthropic initiative politicized, something we have worked for the last five years to avoid it. "
Portman told him The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that he did not agree with the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying: "I am very much against Netanyahu, I am very, very upset. and disappointed that he was re-elected. "
He is not the only star in recent months to cancel a trip to Israel because of politics. In December of 2017, Lorde canceled his shows in Israel after activists told him to reconsider his appearances in an open letter, according to The New York Times .