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Bestselling Author Refuses to Have Book Translated into Hebrew by Israeli Publisher

October 13, 2021

by: Kate Norman

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The book cover for Beautiful World, Where Are You

Wednesday, 13 October 2021 | Bestselling author Sally Rooney declined to have her new novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, translated into Hebrew by an Israeli-based company in solidarity with the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.

This is Rooney’s third novel, which was released in September. Israeli publishing company Modan translated her first two books, Conversations with Friends and Normal People into Hebrew, and offered to buy the rights to do the same with her newest book.

The Irish author turned down the offer, however, accusing Israel of “racial domination and segregation against Palestinians.”

“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 apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinians,” Rooney said in a statement released by her publishing agency.

“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.”

The BDS movement has been derided by Israeli and other world leaders as an anti-Semitic movement disguised as anti-Zionism. The movement calls for the complete boycott and isolation of Israel, and its critics say BDS goes so far as to attempt to delegitimize and even wipe out the Jewish state.

But what caused Rooney to come to such a decision after allowing an Israeli publishing company to translate her first two books? Perhaps the change of heart came after Operation Guardian of the Walls in May. It was a volatile 11 days of fighting that saw terrorists in Gaza fire more than 4,000 rockets at Israel, prompting near-constant responsive strikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Rooney made her stance clear when she added her name to the signees of an open letter slandering Israel as an “apartheid regime” and accusing the Jewish state of crimes against the Palestinian people.

Unsurprisingly, Rooney’s decision has drawn a deluge of praise from one side and criticism from the other.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, a founding group in the BDS movement, “warmly welcomed” the move, accusing Israel of “apartheid, occupation and settler-colonialism.”

“We note with pride the historic solidarity expressed by Irish cultural figures with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” the Palestinian group added in its statement.

Israeli leaders, on the other hand, condemned the anti-Israel decision.

Foreign Minister official Nurit Tinari said “it is extremely unfortunate that Sally Rooney has chosen the path of discrimination and boycott,” as quoted by the Times of Israel.

“Literature and art are meant to foster dialogue,” Tinari continued. “We would expect an author to want to foster dialogue, hear other viewpoints and influence through discourse.”

Israeli Minister of Diaspora (outside Israel) Affairs Nachman Shai took it a step further in a tweet: “Why read her at all? The cultural boycott of Israel is anti-Semitism in new wrapping, [and] it’s a badge of shame for her and others who act like her.”

Editor’s Note:

Despite the accusations leveled by Sally Rooney and the BDS ilk, the evidence makes it abundantly clear that Israel is not an apartheid state—exactly the opposite actually. Israel is the one state in the Middle East where everyone—regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or belief—has an equal opportunity to thrive. Cheryl Hauer, international vice president, unpacks the accusation of Israel as an apartheid state and shows it baseless in her article Israeli Apartheid? No Way! 

Posted on October 13, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 13, 2021)

Photo Credit: Sally Rooney/

Photo License: Wikipedia

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