JERUSALEM (AFP) - Hollywood actress Natalie Portman said she was backing out of a Jerusalem ceremony where she was to receive a US$1 million (S$1.3 million) Genesis Prize to protest against the policies of Israel's prime minister.
"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 said on Instagram.
She also denied accusations by Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev who had said Portman subscribed to the ideology of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
"I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it," the Oscar-winning US-Israeli actress said. "Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation," she said.
Mr Netanyahu's Likud party blasted Portman for "talking about human rights but participating in festivals in countries that censor films and whose respect for human rights is much worse than that of Israel".
The Israeli army has come under scrutiny over its use of live fire over the past three weeks during protests and clashes along the blockaded Gaza Strip's border with the Jewish state.
Mr Netanyahu also recently reversed a controversial deal with the UN refugee agency aimed at avoiding the forced deportations of thousands of African migrants.
He is also the subject of a series of corruption investigations.