Natalie Portman
Natalie PortmanReuters

Palestinian Arab rioters who participated on Friday in violent “March of the Return” riots near the Gaza border held up signs thanking Israeli-American Natalie Portman, Channel 10 News reported.

“Occupied and besieged Gaza appreciates your moral stance. Thank you Natalie Portman,” the sign read.

Portman announced last week that she would refuse to come to Israel to receive the Genesis Prize from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu due to what she called “the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities”.

"I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony," said Portman. "By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it."

"Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I treasure my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema, and dance. Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power," the actress added.

She did not explain what she was referring to by "atrocities."

The Likud party responded to Portman's decision, labelling her a “hypocrite” and adding, "Natalie Portman talks about democracy, but she supported the V15 organization, which attempted, via foreign funding, to skew Israel's democratic elections."

"Portman talks about human rights, but she participates in festivals in countries which censor videos and whose human rights record is far behind that of Israel. No excuse will help - Portman simply refuses to accept the decision of Israel's citizens," said the Likud.

Likud MK Oren Hazan called on Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) to strip Portman of her Israeli citizenship.

"[She is] a Jewish Israeli, who on the one hand cynically uses her birthplace to advance her career and on the other is proud of the fact that she managed to avoid enlisting in the IDF. She's an actress, but she is unworthy of any honor in the State of Israel....She...has no real connection to the State."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)