Natalie Portman
Source: Wikimedia

Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem and has dual Israeli and American citizenship, has taken an unexpected stand against Israel. 

The New York Times reported that the actress and film producer has decided against visiting Israel to receive a prestigious award. 

According to her representative, the decision was driven by "recent events" in Israel, which most likely refers to the Israeli military's violent response to mass demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border.

Despite having voiced pride in her Jewish and Israeli roots, Portman has previously criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying she is "very much against" him and expressing disappointment in his re-election in 2015.

The Oscar-winning actress was awarded the Genesis Prize, a one-million-dollar prize granted annually to Jewish people who have made outstanding achievements in their fields. Portman was set to receive the prize, which organizers dub as the "Jewish Nobel Prize," in Israel this June

"I am deeply touched and humbled by this honor. I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am," the Genesis Prize Foundation quotes her as saying.

However, Portman has since pulled out of the ceremony, saying she "does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel."

Portman's representative said recent events in Israel were "extremely distressing to her," without specifying precisely which events sparked her decision

In response, the foundation issued a press release saying it is disappointed in Portman's refusal to attend the ceremony "for political reasons."

"We fear that Ms. Portman's decision will cause our philanthropic initiative to be politicized, something we have worked hard for the past five years to avoid," the foundation added.

Israel killed 28 Palestinians during Land Day protests

Portman's move comes after Israel's military forces cracked down on Palestinian protesters along the Gaza Strip border, killing 28 and wounding over 1,400 Palestinians since March 30.

This came in response to Palestinians' mass protests against illegal occupation on the 42nd anniversary of Land Day, which commemorates the murder of six unarmed Palestinian civilians who were killed by Israelis during protests back in 1976. 

Although some protesters threw rocks at soldiers, the Israelis responded with live rounds, rubber bullets, tear gas, and sniper fire.

"The Israeli military's use of 100 snipers against unarmed Palestinian civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip is illegal. Live gunfire on unarmed civilians constitutes a brutal violation of the international legal obligation to distinguish between civilians and combatants," Adalah, a legal center for Palestinian rights in Israel, said in a statement at the time.

Supporters of the Palestinian cause are applauding the actress

And thanking her for her "moral stand"

"BDS is winning right before our very eyes"

"Amazing news"

It's all about refusing to normalize Israel's transgressions

"This is how change starts"

Still, some are cynical about her views on the Palestinian plight