Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 October 2019

Natalie Portman slams Israel's "racist" nation state law

The Jerusalem-born actress has been outspoken against the Israeli government in the past.

  Ms Portman said the law was a mistake in an interview with an Arabic-language newspaper. EPA
  Ms Portman said the law was a mistake in an interview with an Arabic-language newspaper. EPA

Natalie Portman has criticised Israel’s nation state law, calling it “racist” and “a mistake”.

In an interview with London-based Arabic newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, the Israeli-American actress said she wanted people to work together to make a difference in the current situation.

The nation state law, brought into legislation in July and named ‘Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People’, effectively gives state sanction to the creation of residential areas for Jews only that would be off limits to Arabs, according to legal scholars and Arab rights activists.

It also enshrines Hebrew as the “state language” while demoting Arabic from an official language in Israel to one with "special status”.

“This [law] is a mistake and I do not agree with it,” Ms Portman, who grew up in the US, said. “I hope we can love our neighbours and work together with our neighbours for change.” The newspaper also reported she called the controversial law “racist”.

This isn’t the first time Ms Portman has stood up for the rights of Arabs living in Israel and the Palestinian people. In April, she announced she would not attend the ceremony to receive the Genesis Prize, known as the ‘Jewish Laureate’ In Israel, citing the “mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities” by the Israeli government.

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The interview is part of the promotion for Ms Portman’s upcoming film, Vox Lux, in which a 13-year-old girl survives a mass shooting, going on to become a musical superstar.

Updated: December 14, 2018 03:14 AM

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