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Sally Rooney
Photography Jonny Davies, via Faber

Sally Rooney boycotts Israel-based publisher in solidarity with Palestine

The author says she would be ‘very pleased and proud’ to sell Hebrew translation rights for Beautiful World, Where Are You that are compliant with BDS guidelines

Sally Rooney has rejected an Israel-based publishing house’s offer to buy the translation rights for her most recent novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, in accordance with her stance on the state’s violent occupation of Palestine

The author explained the decision to turn down the publisher Modan, which translated her two previous novels — Normal People and Conversations With Friends — into Hebrew, in a statement released October 12. While she was “very proud” to have her previous novels translated into Hebrew, she says, with her latest book she has “chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house”.

Expressing her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, she adds: “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 organization 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.”

Rooney goes on to say that she cannot “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 previously backed an open letter that called for an end to Israeli’s violent occupation and colonisation. Titled A Letter Against Apartheid, the letter was also supported by Nan Goldin, Mykki Blanco, Naomi Klein and thousands of other artists, writers, and musicians.

“The Hebrew-language translation rights to my new novel are still available,” Rooney continues. “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.”