Pro-Palestinian Novelist Sally Rooney Controversially Refuses to Have Novel Translated Into Hebrew
14:22 GMT 12.10.2021 (Updated: 12:55 GMT 01.03.2022)
Sally Rooney was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2018 for Normal People, which was adapted for TV and became a global success. Her latest novel is called Beautiful World, Where Are You.
Irish novelist Sally Rooney has been criticised after she followed an edict by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) and refused to have her latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You, translated into Hebrew.
Rooney, who is a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, had Normal People translated into 46 languages, including Hebrew.
But she chose to turn down an offer from Israeli publisher Modan because she said the company “does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people”.
In a statement published by The Guardian
, Rooney said: “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. In the meantime I would like to express once again my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality”.
Writing in Forward
, Gitit Levy-Paz, a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, said: “Rooney’s decision surprised and saddened me. I am a Jewish and Israeli woman, but I am also a literary scholar who believes in the universal power of art”.
Ms Levy-Paz goes on to write: “It goes without saying that Rooney has the right to express her views and criticise others - individuals, groups, peoples or nations…But a boycott, especially a cultural one, is among the most slippery of slopes. The deployment of boycotts has in the past led to human atrocities that any loving soul would distance itself from".
She concluded: “I’m not suggesting that Rooney is antisemitic, or that criticism of Israel automatically constitutes antisemitism. But given the rise of antisemitism in recent years, especially in Europe, the timing of her choice is dangerous”.