Actress Natalie Portman has defended her decision not to attend an Israeli awards ceremony, saying she can be critical of the brutality of Israeli leadership.
She snubbed the Genesis Prize, known as the Jewish Nobel prize, a decision which has led to calls for her to be stripped of her Israeli citizenship.
In a statement, the 36-year-old said: "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.”
Organisers of the Genesis Prize have said a representative for Portman had refused the honour due to "recent events in Israel" which had been "extremely distressing" to her, referring to the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters in Gaza.
Israeli MK Oren Hazan, of the right-wing Likud party, said it was "complete craziness" Portman had been selected for the Genesis Prize – known as the "Jewish Nobel prize" – and called her "unworthy of any honour in the State of Israel.”
Quoted in the Israel National News, he added: "Sweetness can come from strength: I call on Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) to rescind Portman's Israeli citizenship."
Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, claimed Portman had been duped by Palestinian propaganda and "fell like a ripe fruit into the hands of supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).”
However, Portman stressed she did not endorse the BDS.