Bestselling BDS-supporting writer Sally Rooney, who was widely accused of ostracizing Hebrew-speakers with her refusal to let an Israeli publisher print her latest book, said she would love to see a Hebrew translation.
“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,” she said in a statement, referring to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
full statement from Sally Rooney on choosing to boycott an Israeli publishing house, via her agent: pic.twitter.com/q3CMAG4NKT
— Mari Cohen (@maricohen95) October 12, 2021
Rooney was responding to the wave of outrage that targeted her earlier due to her decision to reject a request by Israeli publisher Modan to translate into Hebrew and release her third novel. The book, ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’, was released last month and is expected to be an international hit, just like the previous works by the Irish writer.
Many critics claimed that Rooney was against the translation of her book into Hebrew rather than against doing business with an Israeli company. Forward columnist Gitit Levy-Paz said her “choice to exclude a group of readers because of their national identity” was against “the very essence of literature,” and called the decision “dangerous” because of “the rise of antisemitism in recent years, especially in Europe.”
Sally Rooney skipped right over Jerusalem, the “occupied territories” and went straight for the entire Hebrew language, ostracizing every Jew on planet earth.
That’s one quick hood slip. pic.twitter.com/roZAWTg6Ek
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) October 12, 2021
BDS, Rooney said, is “a nonviolent grassroots campaign calling for an economic and cultural boycott of complicit Israeli companies and institutions modelled on the economic and cultural boycott that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.”
The Israeli government considers BDS a national threat and claims that people supporting it are denying Israel’s right to exist.
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In April, Human Rights Watch declared that Israel had crossed a line and now meets the definition of an apartheid state due to its policies towards Palestinians. Prominent Israeli rights group B’Tselem announced the same conclusion in January.
Rooney is a long-time supporter of the Palestinian cause. In May, she was one of thousands backing an open letter by Palestinian artists calling for an international boycott of Israel.
“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 Palestinian people,” she said, explaining why she snubbed Modan.
Will there be an apology to Sally Rooney from those who defamed her yesterday?
No. Because the story about her refusing to publish in Hebrew was a deliberate distortion designed to paint support for Palestinian human rights as antisemitic.
That’s how it works.
— Ronan Burtenshaw (@ronanburtenshaw) October 12, 2021
The Israeli publishing house translated and printed Rooney’s two previous novels. It also has a long-standing contract with the Israeli Defense Ministry to publish books and pamphlets for them.
Pro-Palestinian sentiment has many supporters in Ireland, where people see a parallel between their struggle against Israel and the historical resistance of Irish people against Britain. The very term ‘boycott’ stems from the Irish fight for independence, derived from the surname of 19th century English land agent Charles Boycott. He was targeted by a campaign of ostracism and threats after trying to evict Irish tenants.
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