Roseanne Barr Calls Natalie Portman 'Repulsive' for Declining Israeli Award

Roseanne Barr called Natalie Portman "repulsive" and "sickening" for refusing to accept the Genesis Prize in person last year, and defended Kevin Hart.

"It was really sickening, I find her repulsive," Barr said of Portman in an interview published Friday in the Israel Hayom newspaper, reports The Hollywood Reporter. "She was raised in incredible privilege of safety in the Jewish state and knows nothing about antisemitism."

Barr, a native of Salt Lake City, continued, "She's the darling of the left here, the Jewish left in Hollywood, she is a complete hypocrite who grew up in safety and privilege, like I said before, and knows nothing about what she speaks of."

Portman, who was born in Jerusalem and moved to the U.S. at the age of 3 with her parents, chose not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony, leaving the foundation to cancel the event. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to present the award, and Portman said she did not want to appear as if she was endorsing his policies.

"My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others," Portman wrote in April 2018. "Let me speak for myself. 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. By the same token, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not endorse it."

The "BDS movement" Portman was referring to is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions group protesting Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Portman continued, "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."

In December 2018, the Black Swan actress spoke out against Israel's controversial nation-state law, which says the country is the "nation-state of the Jewish people," makes Hebrew the country's sole official language and designates Arabic as a "special status" language. Portman called the law "racist" and a "mistake" in a BBC interview.

In her Hayon interview, Barr also stood by Hart, who resigned from hosting the Oscars after his past homophobic tweets resurfaced. Barr, whose Roseanne was cancelled in May 2017 because of a racist tweet she published, said Hart should be forgiven.

"Largely they're digging up things that people did 15 and 20 years ago, and Kevin Hart, his statements were really old and people grow up and change, and he did say he was sorry over and over," Barr said.


Barr is visiting Israel later this month with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and is scheduled to speak before the Knesset, Israel's parliament, against the BDS movement.

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