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12th Oct 2021

Sally Rooney debunks claims she won’t publish book in Hebrew over Israel Palestine conflict

Kieran Galpin


Rooney has responded and set the record straight

Critically acclaimed author Sally Rooney was met with immense criticism on Monday (October 11), with some suggesting she was anti-Semitic for apparently refusing to translate her latest novel through an Israeli publisher.

However Rooney and her supporters were quick to rebuke these claims and set the record straight.

Journalists, public figures and the general public jumped on Rooney on Monday after the Israeli press revealed that she had refused to publish her new book Beautiful World, Where Are You in Hebrew, as reported in outlets such as the Telegraph.

This was then confirmed by Forward, which claimed that Rooney: “refused to allow her new novel to be translated into Hebrew due to her support for cultural boycotts of Israel”.

Rooney confirmed in a statement delivered on Tuesday (October 12) that her other novels had been translated into Hebrew but her latest would not be due to her having “chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house”.

Her full statement is available to view here.

Rooney attributed this decision to her part in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), an organisation that seeks to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law”.

Essentially, Rooney does not feel comfortable collaborating with an organisation that “does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people”.

Rooney then confirmed that the rights to the Hebrew translation are not off the table but she insisted that she wants it to comply with BDS and their “movement’s institutional boycott guidelines”.

A lot of those who had slammed Rooney are now either apologising or avoiding making an apology at all.

“It’s not Sally Rooney’s job to clarify her position *after* she’s been smeared by journalists. It’s up to journalists to seek corroboration on what is a fairly outlandish accusation *before* they go around wrongly presenting an author as an antisemite,” writes Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar. 
Ayesha Siddiqi said: “Really appreciate Sally Rooney for respecting the boycott and refusing to aid in the legitimisation of apartheid and occupation.”