Irish Novelist Sally Rooney Refuses to Sell Translation Rights to an Israeli Publisher on Political Grounds

Acclaimed Irish novelist Sally Rooney has refused an offer from an Israeli publisher to have her new book translated into Hebrew due to her political stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In a statement on Oct. 12, Rooney explained that “for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights” to Israeli-based publishing house Modan to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns for a complete boycott of Israel.

“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 [United Nations]-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people,” Rooney said.

Rooney added that she would be “very pleased and proud” to find a way to sell the Hebrew-language translation rights to her new novel — “Beautiful World, Where Are You” — “that is compliant with the BDS movement’s institutional boycott guidelines.”

Rooney’s previous two novels had been translated into Hebrew and she said she was “very proud” of it.

“In the meantime, I would like to express once again my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice, and equality,” Rooney further said.

Rooney’s statement confirmed a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month that said that Rooney turned down the offer from Modan due to her support of the Israel boycott.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said that Palestinians “warmly” welcomed her decision.

Meanwhile, Israeli Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai criticized Rooney on Twitter, saying, “The cultural boycott of Israel, anti-Semitism in a new guise, is a certificate of poverty for her and others who behave like her.”


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