Natalie Portman’s Selectively Anti-Israel Application Of ‘Jewish Values’

Alan Keyes | Former Assistant Secretary of State

Given the atmosphere of totalitarian repression being generated by the left wing socialist extremists on many University campuses theses day, I suppose that, as an American, I risk being charged on various counts of “cultural appropriation” for daring to write this article. In it, I criticize the evocation of “Jewish values” by Natalie Portman, a globally renowned entertainment icon, who happens to be a Jewish citizen of Israel. However, I plead, in mitigation of the charge that, on account of an act of our Father God, I am an adopted sibling of Jesus Christ, a Jewish man from Nazareth. I plead further that I am, by birth, a citizen of the United States, and therefore a fellow citizen of that aforementioned cultural icon; and, finally, that I am, by heritage a black American, whose variegated cultural DNA makes “cultural appropriation” the very definition of my way of being.

I therefore plead “not guilty” on all counts, and ask my judges to take account, as well, of the fact that the motive for the action laid against me is that I am, by choice repeatedly affirmed in action, a steadfast friend of the people and state of Israel, who can offer my life as one among the many proofs that God’s promise to Abraham has come to pass, when He said: “And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” For I have greatly benefitted from the instruction, fellowship and unwavering support of Jewish teachers and friends, with whom I have lived and worked in common allegiance to the “nation of nations” that the United States was founded to be, and has actually become, in our lifetime.

I was surprises when I read of Natalie Portman’s announcement that “she would not be attending the Genesis Prize Foundation awards ceremony due to the presence of [Prime Minister] Netanyahu, despite being named its 2018 laureate.” According to one report Ms. Portman said “’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 report continues:

Portman did not specify which events caused her distress, although the United Nations and the European Union recently called for investigations into the use of live ammunition by Israel’s military following clashes along the border with Gaza that have left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded. Israel celebrated the 70th anniversary of its independence on Thursday.

With her dramatic gesture, Ms. Portman makes herself part of a strategic campaign that aims at nothing less than the annihilation of the Jewish state. On the surface, the campaign involves the tactic of “unarmed invasion”, which I discussed recently in the context of its deployment against the sovereignty of the people of the United States. Of course, in its ostensible deployment against Israel on the Gaza border, its potentially deceptive character is revealed, as it was during events of the first Intifada back in the 1980s.

Demonstrations that involve hundreds or thousands of people call for riot dispersal measures including, for example, some form of tear gas or pepper spray. But when deployed as a cover for a military assault, the supposedly unarmed crowds will include cadre armed with weapons of various kinds: stones and Molotov cocktails, as well as weapons like axes, suitable for throwing or hand to hand combat. Because crowds may be salted with these arms, forces defending against the ostensible strategy must be supplemented with armed forces capable of dealing with armed threats as they reveal themselves.

Now, even usually non-lethal riot control measure may cause injury or death to people whose physical health makes them susceptible to adverse reactions. When the need to react against armed attackers is added to the mix, the toll of injury and death rises accordingly. It’s important to understand that this colloidal suspension of mostly unarmed civilians, with armed cadre bent on violence, is intentional. The latter are there to provoke armed counterattack, in order to create the impression that innocent, unarmed people are being malicious gunned to death.

Like terrorism, the objective of the strategy of unarmed invasion lies in the mind and moral heart of the people being targeted. Fear is the destructive result terrorism aims to foment. Shame and self-loathing is the intended result of the strategy of unarmed invasion. But it’s important to keep in mind that the people being targeting are not just those who live in the nation being invaded. They include observers throughout the world. As their conscience naturally condemns the sight of unarmed people falling prey to lethal force, the force of conscience recruits support for the invaders. This threatens to disrupt the moral as well as material lines of supply and support of the people forced to defend against the strategy.

Natalie Portman’s dual American and Israel citizenship makes her a weapon of mass destruction in achieving the strategic objects of the moral and sentimental aspects of “unarmed invasion” strategy as it is being deployed against Israel. Of course, given her global notoriety and American citizenship, her action also has strategic implications for the United States. But in Israel’s case, moral and sentimental inhibitions are likely to pose a more immediate existential threat to its survival. A tough response that produces significant civilian casualties (like to be inflated enormously by a globally hostile mass media) may deal with the material threat, but at what cost to the moral heart and self-confidence of the Israeli people?

Natalie Portman has, in the past, appeared to be a staunch support of Israel’s existence. Now she has lent the moral force of her reputation to a global strategic effort to force her country into a prolonged no-win situation — one that can only be resolved in a manner that escalates matters into a confrontation of military forces that removes the deceptive element of “atrocity” from the equation. Purporting to act for peace, she propels matters toward outright war. Has she thought this through? Certainly not in the cold-bloodedly calculated fashion of Israel’s enemies.

If people like Natalie Portman are sincere in their dedication to peace, why is it that they never press the case against intra-Arab conflicts, replete with atrocity, that are most responsible for the bubbling cauldron of incessant warfare? These conflicts are what make a cold-bloodedly calculating strategic mentality a normal imperative of life in the Middle East. Why does Ms. Portman choose to work with forces bent on keeping Israel in the crosshairs of media demands for peace negotiations and an end to bloody war, while doing nothing to force the issue of peace on the bloody minded religious fanatics and ruthless dictators for whom war and its attendant hateful furies are the mainstay of their power?

In all fairness, however, this question ought to be put to all the fake demonstrators of outrage who raise the hue and cry against Israel’s self-defense, counting on the decency of “Jewish values” to make its government susceptible. Meanwhile, these legions decline to evoke the values of the supposed “religion of peace” often cited as the motive for perpetrating violence: Islam. They do not press the case for peace on those who profess ‘Islamic values” among themselves. Whose professedly peaceful values do they thus admit to be sincere? But national suicide should not be required as the cost of that sincerity, no matter what celebrity demands it.

Alan Keyes is a political activist, a prolific writer and a former diplomat.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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