Irish bestselling author Sally Rooney, who wrote the novel behind Hulu’s 2020 hit series Normal people, announced that she would not be working with editors based in Israel for the translation of her latest novel, Beautiful people, where are you.
In response to the news, some critics have targeted Rooney, incorrectly claiming that the author is preventing his book from being translated into Hebrew. Modan, the Israeli publisher of Rooney’s two previous novels, told The Washington post that Rooney did not specify that his refusal to translate was part of a boycott. Rooney specified in a press release that she would be “very happy and proud” to sell the Hebrew translation rights (which are still available) to a publisher “in accordance with the institutional boycott guidelines of the BDS movement”.
BDS, or Boycott, Divest, Sanctions, calls on global supporters of Palestinian rights to refuse to financially support institutions based in Israel or linked to the Israeli government. Rooney, who publicly identifies as a Marxist, had already spoken out against the Israeli occupation in the spring, signing “A Letter Against Apartheid” alongside several other public figures.
âI was very proud to have translated my two previous novels into Hebrewâ¦. Likewise, it would be an honor for me to have my latest novel translated into Hebrew and available to Hebrew-speaking readers, âRooney said in the new statement released by his agent. “But for now, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israel-based publishing house.”
âIsrael’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid under international law,â Rooney’s statement continues. “The [BDS] is a popular Palestinian-led, anti-racist and non-violent campaign calling for an economic and cultural boycott of complicit Israeli companies and institutions in response to the apartheid system and other serious human rights violationsâ¦. I am responding to the call of Palestinian civil society, including all major Palestinian unions and writers‘ unions.
BDS leaders applauded Rooney for the boycott. âRooney joins countless international writers in supporting the institutional cultural boycott of Israel’s collusive publishing industry, just as progressive artists once supported the apartheid boycott in South Africa,â the report said. Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. in a report. “We note with pride the historic solidarity expressed by Irish cultural figures with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.” Ireland is leading a particularly dynamic solidarity campaign with Palestine; earlier this year, it became the first country in the European Union to declare Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories as a “de facto annexation.”
Rooney’s statement was greeted with the support of people active in Palestinian solidarity work around the world, such as the Jewish Voice for Peace organization, who tweeted in support, âCultural production is not separate from apartheid political systems and is therefore a target worthy of boycott. ”
The progressive Jewish solidarity group If Not Now demanded a retraction from the media which had previously published the news of Rooney’s refusal and accused her of anti-Semitism. âThere is no excuse for yesterday’s relentless smear campaign which deliberately distorted the facts to give the impression that Sally Rooney’s legitimate political decision not to work with an Israeli publishing house was a anti-Semitic refusal to translate his novel into Hebrew. Now posted on twitter.
Editor’s Note: The original version of this story mentioned that Alice Walker refused to have her acclaimed 1982 novel The color purple published in Israel. Teen Vogue has removed the mention in the light of Walker’s past promotion anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
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