Acclaimed author Sally Rooney has said she would be “very pleased and proud” to have her latest novel translated in Hebrew – but will not accept an offer from the Israeli company that translated her previous works.
The ‘Normal People’ author has released a statement explaining her decision to reject an offer from the Israeli publisher Modan to translate her new novel ‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’
She said she want to support the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to “end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”
The movement calls for a boycott of all companies and institutions that a complicit in “Israel’s apartheid regime.”
In her statement, Ms Rooney said she was “very proud” to have seen her last two books translated into Hebrew.
“It would be an honour for me to have my latest novel translated into Hebrew and available to Hebrew-language readers but for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house,” she 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 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.”
She said the BDS movement is a “Palestinian-led, anti-racist and nonviolent 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.”
She noted that it is modelled on the economic and cultural boycott that helped to end apartheid in South Africa and pointed out that while Israel is not the only state in the world that is guilty of human rights abuses, “this was also true of South Africa during the campaign against apartheid there.”
“In this particular case, I am responding to the call from Palestinian civil society, including all major Palestinian trade unions and writers’ unions,” she said.
“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.
“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.”
She went on to reiterate her “solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”
Ms Rooney was one of a number of high-profile names to sign ‘A Letter Against Apartheid,’ which called for an “immediate and unconditional cessation of Israeli violence against Palestinians” and urged an end to “the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military.”
The letter also called on those working in the arts to “exercise their agency within their institutions and localities to support the Palestinian struggle for decolonization to the best of their ability.”
‘Beautiful World, Where Are You’ shot to number one in the Irish book charts on its release and sold more than 12,000 copies in Ireland and 40,000 copies in the UK in its first week.