The Israeli government and other critics say that the boycott movement is anti-Semitic and aims to delegitimize Israel and undermine its right to exist. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the movement wants to "see the end of the Jewish state."
In a letter to Ms. Portman on Friday, Gilad Erdan, Israel's minister of public security and strategic affairs, wrote: "Regrettably, it seems that he has been influenced by the misinformation campaign of media about Gaza ", and invited her to travel the border area.
Ms. Portman, who is Jewish and was born in Israel, has starred in such successful films as "Black Swan" and the trilogy of the prequel "Star Wars". He directed a 2015 film, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," an adaptation of the autobiographical novel by Israeli author Amos Oz and filmed in Jerusalem.
In her statement on Friday, Ms. Portman said: "I am not part of the BDS movement and I do not endorse it. Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can criticize the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the whole nation. "
"Israel," he said, "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. Israel, I must face violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power. "
Israel has been the target of international censorship for using real fire against protesters mostly unarmed during the recent weekly demonstrations along the fence that separates Gaza from Israel.
The protest, which began as a grassroots campaign and was quickly adopted by Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls Gaza, is intended to draw international attention to the 11-year blockade of isolated and impoverished coastal territory . that Israel and Egypt impose, citing security reasons, and Palestinian demands for a return to lands in what is now Israel.
The Israeli army says it is acting to prevent any massive crossing of the fence and to prevent attacks against Israeli soldiers and nearby communities under the protection of the protests.
Mrs. Portman's decision was not the first time a celebrity was excluded from an event in Israel because of disagreements with his policies. Also this year, the musician Lorde provoked indignation in some neighborhoods when he canceled a concert in Tel Aviv at the insistence of the fans who asked him to reconsider the performance.
Its cancellation generated angry denunciations from several prominent Israeli and Jewish leaders. A well-known American rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post and called it intolerant, and a group of Israeli rights filed a lawsuit against two New Zealanders who wrote one of the many open letters urging Lorde to cancel the show.
Many others offered their support to the singer, including dozens of celebrities and artists who signed an open letter in The Guardian. Among them were former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, singer Peter Gabriel and actors Viggo Mortensen and Mark Ruffalo. Hundreds of other celebrities criticized Israel and offered their support to the Palestinian cause, including Rihanna, Penelope Cruz and Russell Brand.
Others have firmly positioned themselves on the other side of the debate. Gal Gadot, an Israeli actress who rose to fame for starring in the 2017 film "Wonder Woman," offered her prayers for the Israel Defense Forces on social media, as did the Israeli model Bar Refaeli.
Actress Scarlett Johansson mocked some and was fired by charity Oxfam as a spokeswoman after eight years of an agreement with SodaStream, an Israeli company that had a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank occupied by Israel.
Mrs. Portman has been very critical of Mr. Netanyahu, saying he was "very, very sad and disappointed" for his re-election in 2015. "I think his racist comments are horrible," he said.
The Genesis Prize was founded in 2013 to celebrate Jewish achievement and contribution to humanity, in the words of the organizers. Its founding partners are listed on the prize's website as the office of the Israeli prime minister, the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Jewish Agency for Israel, a quasi-governmental organization that deals with Jewish immigration and the Jewish diaspora in general. Past winners include Michael R. Bloomberg (2014), Michael Douglas (2015), Itzhak Perlman (2016) and Anish Kapoor (2017).
Before Ms. Portman issued her statement on Friday explaining her decision to withdraw from the ceremony award, both supporters and critics of the BDS movement took advantage of her decision to earn points.
Supporters saw the movement as evidence of a growing wave of cultural figures protesting against Israel's policies.
"This latest rejection of Israeli cultural events and praise, coming from an Israeli-American superstar, is undoubtedly one of the strongest indicators so far of how toxic Israel's brand has become, even in some circles Hollywood liberals, "Omar Barghouti, co-founder of BDS movement, said in an email. "I can feel our moment in South Africa is approaching."
On the other hand, Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sports of Israel, said in a statement to the Israeli media: "I was sad to know that Natalie Portman has fallen like a ripe fruit in the hands of BDS supporters" He added, "Natalie, a Jewish actress who was born in Israel, now joins those who refer to the success and wonder of the rebirth of Israel as 'a story of darkness and darkness'."
Oren Hazan, who, like Ms. Regev, belongs to the conservative Likud Party of Mr. Netanyahu, suggested that Ms. Portman, a national double who also has United States citizenship, should be deprived of her Israeli citizenship. He called on the Israelis to boycott their future films.
But Rachel Azaria, a centrist party legislator who is part of Netanyahu's coalition, wrote on Twitter that Ms. Portman's cancellation should serve as a "warning light".  "She is totally one of us, she identifies with her Judaism and her Israelity," wrote Mrs. Azaria.
Referring to what many see as the growing alienation of young Jewish liberals from Israel, or at least from their right-a government, she said that Ms. Portman was "speaking for many Jews in the United States, and essentially by the young generation. "
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