- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oscar winner Natalie Portman apparently thinks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a racist — or at least talks like one.

The Israeli-born actress recently told the Hollywood Reporter in a candid interview that she does not want to use her position as a celebrity to promote a political position, but was quick to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments “racist.”

Ms. Portman said verbatim, according to the Reporter:

“I’m very much against Netanyahu. Against. I am very, very upset and disappointed that he was re-elected. I find his racist comments horrific. However, I don’t — what I want to make sure is, I don’t want to use my platform [the wrong way]. I feel like there’s some people who become prominent, and then it’s out in the foreign press. You know, [expletive] on Israel. I do not. I don’t want to do that.”

Ms. Portman’s stunning accusation against Mr. Netanyahu did go without irony. Her criticisms of Israel’s hawkish leader were coupled with admissions that she harbors fear living in France at a time when the country is riddled with anti-Semitism. She recently moved to Paris in November.

As the Reporter pointed out, “She’s been fearless in proclaiming her Jewishness, even though she now lives in a country where anti-Semitism is terrifyingly on the rise.”

When Ms. Portman was asked about whether she felt fear being Jewish in Paris, she replied, “Yes, but I’d feel nervous being a black man in this country [the interview took place in Los Angeles]. I’d feel nervous being a Muslim in many places.”

The Harvard University graduate admitted openly that despite being “quite leftist” (particularly in relation to Israeli society), she felt alienated in Paris.

“You really feel like a capitalist, [and you feel the] socialist difference in a major way. Like, the strike thing is a real phenomenon. You think it’s just a stereotype, but it’s totally the case there. It’s really about like ‘giving it to the man.’”

In 2013, while filming in Israel under Mr. Netanyahu’s leadership, the actress implied during an interview that she felt safer there, and less safe in America except in Los Angeles and New York.

“The older I get, the more I realize how different it is to be a Jew in a Jewish place as opposed to a Jew in a non-Jewish place,” she told the U.K. Telegraph. “It’s definitely a different feeling in terms of how freely you can be yourself and celebrate your culture and religion. It’s very different being in Israel than in cities that don’t have big Jewish populations, where it can sometimes feel dangerous to be Jewish, and you understand why there is a need for a place where you don’t feel that way. I feel it in lots of places. Pretty much everywhere.”

Ms. Portman then implied that she sensed anti-Semitism in the United States except in Los Angeles and New York.

“New York and LA [where she then lived] are the exceptions. On holidays in New York, the city shuts down. My non-Jewish friends know how to wish you Shanah Tova, Happy New Year, in Hebrew. In other places in the world it ranges from people who aren’t familiar with Judaism to people who are hostile towards it.”


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