Natalie Portman

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Natalie Portman
Wikipedia page Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman (real name Natalie Hershlag) is an Israeli-born actress and occasional defender of Israel. She served as a research assistant for Alan Dershowitz, who was her professor at university, on his controversial book The Case for Israel.[1] In the acknowledgments Dershowitz states: 'In writing this book I have benefited greatly from the research assistance of' Natalie Portman, and five others.[2] The book was famously accused by Norman Finkelstein of being a 'hoax',[3] an allegation Dershowitz denied.[4]

Dershowitz

Dershowitz says of her, “She’s not one of those Hollywood stars who plays on her stardom to have you listen to her on other issues. She’s worth listening to because of her own inherent intelligence, experience, and background.”[5]

Dershowitz, 'who taught her in a seminar on neurobiology and the law, says she was one of the most remarkable students he’s had. He still cites a paper she wrote debunking a new method of lie-detector tests, well before this particular practice had come under question.':

“She was really on the cutting edge,” says Dershowitz, who, for a time, had no idea that Natalie Hershlag was a Hollywood movie star. “I think there were a lot of people in the class were really were taken with this new methodology. She just ripped it apart.” Eventually she became his research assistant, and he encouraged her to go to graduate school in psychology. “She was really on the cutting edge,” says Dershowitz, who, for a time, had no idea that Natalie Hershlag was a Hollywood movie star. “I think there were a lot of people in the class were really were taken with this new methodology. She just ripped it apart.” Eventually she became his research assistant, and he encouraged her to go to graduate school in psychology.[6]

Defending Israel

The Washington Post reported a letter[7] sent by Portman to the Harvard Crimson the student campus newspaper:

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem-born actress objected tartly in the Harvard Crimson to law student Faisal Chaudhry's April 11 essay on U.S. policy concerning Israel and the Palestinians. Chaudhry framed the Arab-Israeli violence as "Israel's racist colonial occupation" in which "white Israeli soldiers destroy refugee camps of the brown people they have dispossessed for decades."...
Portman, who immigrated to the United States with her family in 1988 and lived briefly in Washington, wrote to the student newspaper that Chaudhry's racial rhetoric "is a distortion of the fact that most Israelis and Palestinians are indistinguishable physically. The Israeli government itself is comprised of a great number of Sephardic Jews, many of whom originate from Arab countries. The chief of staff of the army, the minister of defense, the minister of finance . . . and the president of Israel are all 'brown.' One might have an idea of the physical likeness between Arabs and Israelis by examining this week's Newsweek cover on which an 18-year-old female Palestinian suicide bomber and her 17-year-old female Israeli victim could pass for twins." Portman continued: "Outrageous and untrue finger-pointing is a childish tactic that disregards the responsibility of all parties involved."[8]



References

  1. Natalie Portman: April 2006 Vanity Fair Article.
  2. Acknowledgements The Case for Israel By Alan M. Dershowitz, p. vii, from Google Books, accessed 13 March 2009
  3. See Finkelstein's argument here: Norman G. Finkelstein THE DERSHOWITZ HOAX, accessed 12 March 2009
  4. Dershowitz responded in his book The Case for Peace. See also STATEMENT OF ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ, Harvard Law School, accessed 12 march 2009
  5. Natalie Portman: April 2006 Vanity Fair Article.
  6. Natalie Portman: April 2006 Vanity Fair Article.
  7. The whole letter is here: Israeli Diversity Shown Even Among Leaders By NATALIE HERSHLAG, Originally published on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 in the Opinion section of The Harvard Crimson, accessed 13 March 2009
  8. Natalie Portman Strikes Back washingtonpost.com, By Lloyd Grove, 19 April 2002, accessed 13 March 2009