Hollywood actor, Natalie Portman, a famous Jewish celebrity has slammed Israel’s Nation-State Law. In an interview with Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al-Arabi, Portman said: “the Nation-State law is racist.”
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The law was passed in July 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares Israel as a Jewish state. It has been drawing backlash ever since. According to Times of Israel, “it drew ire from Jews in Israel and aboard for appearing to relegate Arabic to non-official language status, promoting the status of Jewish religion in legal matters and not specifying equal rights for all Israeli citizens.
Born in Jerusalem, Portman said the law is a mistake. “I don’t agree with it, people’s lives are being affected on a personal level by decisions made by politicians.”
Israel does not have a written constitution. The Basic Laws provide legal statements outlining the rights of the individual and fundamental principles of the state. While passing the Nation-State Law, Netanyahu said “Israel is a nation-state of the Jewish people.
A nation-state that respects the individual rights of all its citizens; and in the Middle East, only Israel respects these rights. This is our state, the state of the Jews. In recent years there have been some who have attempted to cast doubt on this, and so to undercut the foundations of our existence and our rights.”
Portman has been very much vocal about Israel and hasn’t hesitated to criticize the country. Earlier this year, she boycotted a ceremony where she was to receive the Genesis Prize also called the ‘Jewish Nobel’. “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,” she stated on an Instagram post.
According to Vox, Portman has been an outspoken advocate of Israel. “As an undergraduate at Harvard, she worked on a prominent book defending the Jewish state against its critics. She speaks fluent Hebrew and in 2015, she wrote, directed and starred in a Hebrew-language adaptation of Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir.”
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