Born to a Jewish family in Jerusalem, Israel, it’s understandable why Natalie Portman takes such a strong interest and such a strong position in foreign politics, particularly where issues involve racism and anti-semitism. In a recent interview, Natalie spoke out against the reelection of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though Ms. Portman did temper her words and her emotions, almost as an afterthought.
“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,” Natalie said. “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, s**t on Israel. I do not. I don’t want to do that.”
Talk of politics and Netanyahu’s alleged racist comments led the discussion with Ms. Portman fluidly to the general topic of racism and particularly where acts of anti-semitism are involved. One of the recent Sony hacks revealed that Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh had included Natalie’s name and email address in a mass mailing that spoke of Gaza and “Jews being slaughtered for their beliefs.”
Ms. Portman wasn’t aware of that her name had been included until she received word of the email and, even then, Natalie felt betrayed.
“I was very unhappy to be included in those emails, and I told [Kavanaugh] so. I wrote to him that I didn’t want to be part of that group. I didn’t want to be receiving those emails at all. I find them very disturbing.”
When Ms. Portman’s husband, French ballet dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, accepted a position with the Paris Opera Ballet, Natalie bravely went with him to Paris, where anti-semitism is a current growing sentiment and will surely find opposition with her own Jewish heritage.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Portman was asked if the situation worried her at all.
“Yes,” Natalie admitted, “but I’d feel nervous being a black man in this country. I’d feel nervous being a Muslim in many places.”
Ms. Portman says that life in France isn’t all bad, even if she is lacking in French language skills. Natalie cites religious freedom as one of the greatest liberties in France.
“I feel like this country has a lot of religion and a lot of freedom around that; and there, the religion is almost like love. Love and intellectualism is their sort of way.”
Currently, Natalie Portman is preparing her film, A Tale of Love and Darkness, to debut at Cannes Film Festival, where she will also participate in an A.I.D.S. benefit gala.
[Featured image: Natalie Portman courtesy of Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]