The Irish bestselling author Sally Rooney has announced on Tuesday that her recently published novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You?” will not be translated into Hebrew by an Israeli company because she supports a cultural boycott of ‘Israel’.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Rooney explained her decision, writing that while she was “very proud” to have had her previous novels translated into Hebrew, she has for now “chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house”
“Earlier this year, the international campaign group Human Rights Watch published a report entitled A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution. That report, coming on the heels of a similarly damning report by Israel’s most prominent human rights organization B’Tselem, confirmed what Palestinian human rights groups have long been saying: Israel’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid under international law,” Rooney’s statement continued.
“Of course, many states other than Israel are guilty of grievous human rights abuses. This was also true of South Africa during the campaign against apartheid there. In this particular case, I am responding to the call from Palestinian civil society, including all major Palestinian trade unions and writers’ unions.”
She said that she knew that not everyone will agree with her, but that she did not feel it would be right to collaborate with an Israeli company “that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.”
Rooney also expressed her desire to support the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), a campaign that works to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law”.
“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,” Roony’s statement read.
She added, “In the meantime I would like to express once again my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”
This is not the first time Rooney expressed her opposition to ‘Israel’.
In July, soon after Israel’s May aggression on the Gaza Strip, Rooney was one of thousands of artists to sign a letter accusing the occupation state of ‘Israel’ of apartheid.
The letter called for “an immediate and unconditional cessation of Israeli violence against Palestinians”, and asked governments to “cut trade, economic and cultural relations”.
Moreover, in her novel, “Normal People,” the main characters attend a protest against ‘Israel’ during the 2014 Gaza War.
And in Rooney’s novel, “Conversations with Friends,” a character named Bobbi talks about how relationships are about power, but people instead focus on “niceness.” She then says, “I mean this is an issue in public discourse. We end up asking like, is Israel ‘nicer’ than Palestine.”
Rooney is not the first prominent author to refuse to publish a book in Hebrew.
In 2012, Alice Walker said it would not allow “The Color Purple” to be translated into Hebrew because of what she referred to as Israel’s “apartheid state”.