Natalie Portman says the reason she is not attending a ceremony in Israeli later this year is that she does not want to seem like she is supporting the nation's embattled Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The 36-year-old actress was scheduled to be honored with the Genesis Prize Laureate, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in Israel, but was criticized after she declined.
"Let me speak for myself," she said in a statement. "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."
Portman continued, "Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance."
She concluded by saying, "Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power. Please do not take any words that do not come directly from me as my own. This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel. I will be announcing them soon, and I hope others will join me in supporting the great work they are doing."