Sally Rooney, the best-selling Irish author, has rejected a bid by an Israeli publishing company to translate her latest novel into Hebrew due to her stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The acclaimed author, 31, said in a statement on Tuesday that her decision to turn down Modan’s offer for the translation rights to, ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You, was taken in support of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
BDS calls for a full cultural, economic and academic boycott of Israel for its illegal repression of Palestinian rights. “For the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house,” Rooney said.
“I understand that not everyone will agree with my decision, but I simply do not feel it would be right for me under the present circumstances to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from the apartheid and supports the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.”
Additionally, Rooney cited “damning” reports this year by global Human Rights Watch and Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem. They exposed “Israel’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians” as motivating factors in her decision.
Following the angry reaction to her decision, Rooney clarified that she is not against her book being translated into Hebrew. However, she no longer wants to do so with an Israel-based publishing house.
“The Hebrew-language translation rights to my new novel are still available. And if I can find a way to sell these rights that is compliant with the BDS movement’s institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very pleased and proud to do so,” Rooney said.
Paletinian campaigners welcome the author’s move
“There should be no business-as-usual with an apartheid state and institutions complicit in it,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said in a post on Twitter.
Rooney said she was “very proud” her two hugely successful previous novels – Normal People, and, Conversations with Friends – were translated into Hebrew.
Meanwhile, Israel has long denounced the BDS movement as anti-Jewish. It also rejects any comparison between its treatment of Palestinians and apartheid as inaccurate.
Rooney’s stance met with an outpouring of anger and praise on social media. Earlier this year, Rooney also signed an open letter in support of Palestinian artists and writers. It accused Israel of crimes against the Palestinian people.
In May, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also found himself labeled ‘anti-Semitic‘ for opining on Israel’s massive influence over western media.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments section below.