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‘Normal People’ Author Sally Rooney Rightly Rejects Hebrew Translation Request By Publisher With Close Ties To Apartheid Israel’s Defense Ministry

Due to her support for the cultural boycott of Israel, bestselling Irish author Sally Rooney has declined an offer from an Israeli publisher to translate her newest work. Rooney turned down Modan Publishing House’s request for a Hebrew translation of Beautiful World, Where Are You?, according to Haaretz. As per the Israeli publication, Rooney’s agency confirmed the decision. The 30-year-old novelist issued a statement on Tuesday explaining her choice.

Rooney stated that both Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem’s findings “confirmed what Palestinian human rights groups have long said: Israel’s system of racial domination and segregation against Palestinians meets the definition of apartheid under international law.” She went on to say that while many other countries were guilty of human rights violations, she was responding to a “call from Palestinian civil society, including all major Palestinian trade unions and writers’ unions” in this matter.

The author acknowledged that some people might disagree with her decision, but she could not work with an Israeli firm “that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and supports 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 [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement’s institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very pleased and proud to do so. In the meanwhile, I’d want to express my support with the Palestinian people in their battle for freedom, justice, and equality,” Rooney added.

When her book Beautiful World, Where Are You? was released in early September, it shot to the top of the UK book rankings, selling over 40,000 copies in five days. After only one week on the market, the book became the best-selling fiction hardcover of the year, according to Waterstones. Following an Israeli military onslaught on Gaza in May, Rooney was one of many artists to sign a petition in July urging countries to “sever trade, economic, and cultural ties” with Israel and to withdraw support for the country’s military. Modan collaborates with the Israeli government in the production and marketing of books for the Ministry of Defence Publishing House.

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