Famous author boycotts Israel publisher in support of Palestinians

10/20/2021 9:45 AM
Sally Rooney

Best-selling Irish author, Sally Rooney, has refused a request from an Israeli-based publisher to translate her new book into Hebrew, citing her support of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).

The author said she did not want her latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You?, to be published by an Israeli-based publishing house — a move that has been praised by Palestinian supporters.

Her two previous books have been published in Hebrew.  Rooney said it would be an 'honour' to have the new book translated in the language but in a way that it "is compliant with the BDS movement institutional boycott guidelines."

Rooney's statement 

In a comprehensive statement clarifying her position, Rooney said: “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 organisation 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.

“The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a Palestinian-led anti-racist and non-violent grassroots campaign calling for an economic and cultural boycott of complicit Israeli companies and institutions in response to the apartheid system and other grave human rights violations. It is modelled on the economic and cultural boycott that helped end apartheid in South Africa.

The 30-year-old writer said she accepts that many states other than Israel are guilty of human rights abuses. But in this case, she is responding to a call from Palestinian civil society, including Palestinian trade unions and writers unions.

“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

"I would like to express once again my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality," she added.

Support for Rooney

A spokesperson from Israel’s foreign ministry told The Telegraph that Rooney's decision was 'narrow-minded' and prevented 'peace, dialogue, or any meaningful change.'

But Rooney's stance has been met with praise and support on social media.