Irish author Sally Rooney has rejected a bid by an Israeli publishing company, Modan. Modan offered Rooney to translate her latest novel into Hebrew due to her stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Earlier on Tuesday, Rooney said in a statement that her decision to turn down Modan’s offer for translating, ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ was taken in support of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS calls for a full cultural, economic and academic boycott of Israel for its illegal repression of Palestinian rights.
Rooney said “For the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house. 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.”
Rooney backed her stance by citing reports shared by global Human Rights Watch and Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem. She said that Israel’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians served as motivating factors in her decision.
Rooney said she was “very proud” her two hugely successful previous novels – Normal People, and, Conversations with Friends – were translated into Hebrew.
Palestinian campaigners welcomed the author’s move. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said in a post on Twitter, “There should be no business-as-usual with an apartheid state and institutions complicit in it,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said in a post on Twitter.
An independent researcher and activist, Hil Aked, said Rooney’s move was a “principled act of solidarity”.
Aked continued “She joins an ever-growing list of cultural figures showing practical support for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. Though the Israeli government – and many other governments – are seeking to repress the BDS movement, it continues to grow.”
Meanwhile, a senior Israeli Minister Nachman Shai rejected the Irish author’s stance. He said, “anti-Semitism in a new guise. The cultural boycott of Israel … is a certificate of poor conduct for her and others who behave like her”.