Irish novelist Sally Rooney said on Tuesday that she would not allow the Israeli publishing house that dealt with her previous novels to publish her most recent book, “Beautiful World, Where Are You”, due to her support for the Palestinian people and boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
In an email, Ms. Rooney said she was proud to have her first two books, “Normal People” and “Conversations With Friends,” published in Hebrew. “Likewise, it would be an honor for me to have my latest novel translated into Hebrew and available to Hebrew-speaking readers,” she said. “But for now, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israel-based publishing house. “
She added that she knew some would disagree with her decision, “but I just don’t think it would be fair for me under the current circumstances to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly take its distances from apartheid and does not support the UN. -the stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.
Her Israeli publisher, Modan Publishing House, said in an email that when he inquired about “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” which was published in English in September, he was told that she did not was not interested in publishing it in Israel. He said he had not received an explanation.
In her email, Ms. Rooney cited a report released this year by Human Rights Watch which said the actions of the Israeli government meet the legal definition of apartheid, and it expressed support for the BDS movement, which aims to exploit international political and economic pressure on Israel. Supporters say the goal of the BDS movement is to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, while critics, including many Israelis, say its real goal is the end of Israel as a state Jewish.
Ms. Rooney is not the first prominent author to decline an offer to publish in Israel. Alice Walker said in 2012 that she would not allow a Hebrew translation of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple”. Mrs Walker, born in Georgia in 1944, said at the time“I grew up under American apartheid and that,” she added of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, “was much worse.
Deborah Harris, a literary agent whose company manages lead writers seeking translation and publication in Israel, called Ms Rooney’s decision painful and counterproductive.
“When it’s ice cream or cement, or whatever it’s one thing, but when it comes to cultivation, I just struggle to see how productive it can be. to change anything, ”Ms. Harris mentioned. “What literature is supposed to do is touch people’s hearts and minds. ”
People who might read Ms Rooney’s work in Israel, Ms Harris added, are not the ones who support the policies she likely opposes. “Its audience here is made up of people who fully support a Palestinian state,” Ms. Harris said.
Ms Rooney’s new book follows the friendship of two young women, Eileen, an editorial assistant at a literary magazine, and Alice, a novelist whose career has rushed to fame and success, just like that of Ms Rooney. .
In her statement, Rooney said that in taking the decision to no longer publish with Modan, she was “responding to the call of Palestinian civil society”, and she expressed her solidarity with the Palestinian people “in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality. . ”
She added that the Hebrew translation rights for the novel are still available, and that if she can find a way to sell them and adhere to the guidelines of the BDS movement, “I will be very happy and proud to do so.”
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Sally Rooney refuses to publish book in Israel E! News UK