Report: Natalie Portman first cited Gaza, not Netanyahu, for cancellation

Her representative worried it would not be "appropriate to hold the ceremony given the government actions and the recent escalation."

Natalie Portman Declines Honor and Cancels Israel Trip, April 20, 2018 (Reuters)
According to a report on Channel 2 News, a representative for Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman told organizers at the Genesis Prize in early April that it was Israeli actions in Gaza – not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – that gave her pause about the upcoming ceremony in Jerusalem.
On Monday night, the network’s Amit Segal reported that in an email on April 2, a representative for Portman reached out to the Genesis Prize foundation and said that they’d been “following the news lately on Gaza with concern.”
According to the translation of the email, her representative worried it would not be “appropriate to hold the ceremony given the government actions and the recent escalation.”
The Genesis Prize Foundation refused on Tuesday to confirm or deny the Channel 2 report.
According to Segal, a representative from the foundation replied that the “events in Gaza are the result of a planned operation by Hamas that is designed to sacrifice its citizens for political gain.” The representative added that canceling the ceremony would be “a slap in the face to the Israeli people.”
The exchange reportedly occurred on April 2, three days after 15 Palestinians were killed during clashes along the Gaza border.
On Friday, the Genesis Prize Foundation said that Portman had chosen to pull out of the ceremony, giving them no choice but to cancel it.
The foundation cited the actress’s concern about “recent events in Israel.”
Later she took to Instagram to say that she loves Israel but she chose not to come so she would not be seen as endorsing Netanyahu.
“The mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values,” she wrote. “Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.”
The Foundation has yet to confirm the future of the $2 million prize Portman was slated to receive and distribute to worthy causes – leaving open the option of her still taking part despite skipping the ceremony.