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'Solidarity' Sally Rooney does not think 'it would be right' to sell novel rights to Israeli publisher

"In this particular case, I am responding to the call from Palestinian civil society, including all major Palestinian trade unions and writers’ unions"

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Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney

Best-selling Irish novelist Sally Rooney has said she does not feel “it would be right for me” to sell translation rights to her new novel to an Israeli-based publishing house. 

It had been reported that the 30-year-old author had received a request by an Israeli publisher to translate her book Beautiful World, Where Are You into Hebrew but that she had turned it down.

Beautiful World, Where Are You was released in September and topped book charts in the UK and Ireland.

The two previous novels written by Ms Rooney, Conversations With Friends and Normal People, have both been published in Hebrew.

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Sally Rooney's book Beautiful World Where Are You?

Sally Rooney's book Beautiful World Where Are You?

Sally Rooney's book Beautiful World Where Are You?

In a statement, the author said she was very proud to have her previous two novels translated into Hebrew by Katyah Benovits.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the publication of those books for supporting my work," she said.

"Likewise, 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.”

In a statement, she explained that she based her decision on a report published earlier this year by the international campaign group Human Rights Watch, 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,” Ms Rooney said.

“The Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (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. It is modelled on the economic and cultural boycott that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.”

"Of course, many states other than Israel are guilty of grievous 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.”

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She added: “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.

"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 was catapulted to fame by her debut novel Conversations with Friends, and Normal People, which was long-listed for the Booker Prize and became a TV adaptation.

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