For a casual observer, Natalie Portman's abdication of her position as a prominent, staunch prominent Israeli supporter may seem shocking. For a more refined class of salary types (like me, somehow), this position is none other than Miss Natalie, who expresses what she always believed: while she's a fan of veggie hummus and Hilton Beach, she can not stand behind Netanyahu anymore ethically ambiguous political positions. They do that, Miss Natalie.
But first a connection.
Portman's rejection of the Genesis Prize is certainly a turning point when it comes to Israeli-American relations. What wave effect will it have in the food world? In her note, Portman wrote that she valued Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema and dance. I assume that this means that a locally grown, ethically produced organic Shakshuka is still something I am looking forward to digging.
My decision not to participate in the Genesis Awards was wrongly described by others. Let me speak for myself. I decided not to attend because I did not want to support Benjamin Netanyahu, who was giving a speech at the ceremony. For the same reason, I am not part of the BDS movement and do not support it. Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can face the leadership in Israel critically without wanting to boycott the entire nation. I appreciate my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, cinema and dance. Israel was founded exactly 70 years ago as a refuge for Holocaust refugees. But the mistreatment of those who suffer from today's atrocities simply does not match my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I have to stand against violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power. Please do not take words that do not come directly from me, as my own. This experience has inspired me to support a number of charities in Israel. I will announce them soon, and I hope others will help me with the great work they do.
Now everyone knows that America is basically a smoker group of oligarchs Who does not give two cries about the environment. Thanks to the Guardian, we now know that anyone responsible for the decay of Mother Earth fits into one or more Greyhound buses. In the standard glaciation of typical bureaucrats, food companies are beginning to address this issue.
Slightly glacial, this tiny Israeli Middle East controversial magnet moves. When it comes to food, there's a plethora of startup companies for sustainability along with a plethora of irritatingly hipster-friendly vegan black-and-white peas (with separate, budget-priced menus for citizens and American tourists!). There is TIPA, which works on compostable packaging. There is Inspecto, a company dedicated to "developing a nanoscale portable device for the early detection of food contaminants in the field". There is Supermeat working on producing "clean meat" made in the lab that does not harm any animals. Simply extract the cells from the chicken, grow them in a lab and put them in a burger. At least that's the hope. Then there are those kibbutzim dedicated to pure life.
Israel – one of the driest countries on the planet – now produces more freshwater than it needs, according to this Scientific American article. Israel is the world leader in water recycling. The World Food Prize went to the Israeli doctor. Daniel Hillel for making a way to bring water to dry and dry land regions. Green Israel is proof of Israel's dedication to reducing food waste and green technology
Portman's decision to boycott the Genesis Prize is complicated. She did not disavow Israel. She did not join the ranks of the BDS. She will still dig hummus, falafel, and some morning salad when the urge comes. She has not given up her dream of a sustainable society. But now this dream seems to have changed. Israel could be innovative in terms of sustainability, but for Portman they are under-appreciated in other areas. Sustainability means looking after the future. The future of all people, from the beleaguered, overworked cows to undocumented immigrants.
So, while Portman leaves for some Sabich, she's also busy holding Israel to justice. And that's a good thing.