The Author


Not only did Portman fail to support Israel when she had a unique opportunity to do so. She also provided Al Quds’ readers with yet another prominent Jewish voice naively endorsing their anti-Israel narrative.

In April, I wrote an open letter to Natalie Portman ( bemoaning her refusal to accept the Genesis Prize and taking issue with her ignorant and intemperate remarks about Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Sadly, she continues to attack Israel and its leaders on a regular basis.

Just this week, Portman decided that it would be a good idea to give an interview to the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, not exactly a paragon of unbiased reporting (their name might have given her a hint as to their perspective). In fact, their raison d’etre is to promote the Arab/Palestinian narrative, and the only Israelis or Jews they are interested in interviewing are those ‘useful idiots’ who can be counted on to support the Islamist worldview.

So sure enough, instead of using that forum to present their readers with a seldom-heard pro-Israel viewpoint, Portman decided that it was her moral duty to jump on the pro-Arabist bandwagon by condemning Israel’s Nation-State Law as “racist” and a “mistake”.  Not only did she fail to support Israel when she had a unique platform and opportunity to do so; she also provided Al Quds’ readers with yet another prominent Jewish voice naively endorsing their antipathy towards the Jewish state.

As for the Nation-State Law itself, what Israel has enshrined in its constitution is the same type of cultural and ethnic protection that many other states have adopted.  Israel chose to address the vulnerabilities and ambiguities that threaten its existence and its unique role in the Jewish universe, and although we can certainly quibble about the language or the minutiae of the Nation-State Law, it simply states the obvious. Israel is and must always be a Jewish state. Why else should it exist?

Why that should pose a problem for Portman and her ilk is unclear (especially given the enshrined minority rights), but what is blindingly clear is that Jews outside Israel must be extraordinarily circumspect about their criticism of Israel’s political decisions. Those of us living in the Diaspora are not privy to all the underlying considerations behind those decisions, and more importantly, we are not putting our lives on the line to defend and protect Israel the way that Israel’s 7 million Jewish citizens do every single day. The chutzpah of an American Jew casting stones at Israel – more like boulders in this case – while living in a secure compound thousands of miles removed from the risks and challenges Israelis face is mind-numbing.

Portman did not live in Israel for very long. It is evident she is out of touch with the realities of contemporary Israeli life. She seems not to comprehend the implications of being surrounded by genocidal neighbors, and she is insensitive as to how her criticism reinforces the Arab world’s refusal to seek real peace with Israel.

Ms. Portman, I beseech you: Stop thinking you have to share your misguided and misinformed opinions with the world. Stop presenting yourself as some expert on issues related to Israel because you lived in Israel many years ago.

Instead, perhaps you should spend your time making more films that no one wants to see.

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Article by Henry Roth

Henry Roth was born in Haifa and immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, he has been married to Brenda for 43 years, is the father of two sons, Marc and David, the happy grandfather of Nicolas and a proud and loud Zionist.