By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News -
An Irish author whose novels have topped the New York Times bestsellers list has prevented her most recent book from being translated into Hebrew, due to her support for a cultural boycott of Israel.
Sally Rooney allowed her two previous books, Conversations With Friends and Normal People, to be translated to Hebrew and published by Israeli press Modan, but she had a change of heart when it came to her third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You?
Rooney’s agent turned down a bid from Modan to translate and publish the book, citing her pro-Palestinian stance, according to Hebrew language daily Haaretz.
“When Modan approached Rooney’s agent in an attempt to sign another translation deal, the agent announced that Rooney supports the cultural boycott movement [BDS] of Israel and therefore does not approve translation into Hebrew,” Haaretz reported.
During the May 2021 Gaza-Israel conflict Operation Guardian of the Walls, Rooney signed an open letter urging “an end to the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military; especially the United States,” and calling on countries to “cut trade, economic and cultural relations” with the Jewish State.
Rooney, who has been called the voice of the Millennial generation, often imbues her characters with left-wing political views and writes about issues related to identical politics and social justice activism.
A scene from one of her novels involves characters attending a pro-Palestinian rally during the 2014 Protective Edge conflict.
“The very essence of literature, its power to bring a sense of coherence and order to the world, is negated by Rooney’s choice to exclude a group of readers because of their national identity,” wrote Israeli academic Dr. Gitit Levy-Paz in an op-ed for the Forward.
While she acknowledged that Rooney has the right to express her political opinions, Levy-Paz said that Rooney’s support for a cultural shunning of Israel could set a dangerous precedent.
“The deployment of boycotts has in the past led to human atrocities that any loving soul would distance itself from. It is not always remembered, but among the first steps taken by the Nazi regime in Germany was the initiation of a boycott of Jewish businesses,” she noted.