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Author Sally Rooney Turns Down Israeli Publisher in Solidarity With Palestinians

Mustafa Afandy Mustafa Afandy
20th October 2021
Author Sally Rooney Turns Down Israeli Publisher in Solidarity With Palestinians
Rooney is boycotting Israel not Hebrew (Getty).

The Claim

Sally Rooney turned down a translation bid to Hebrew for anti-Semitic reasons.

Emerging story

On October 11, 2021, news began circulating that Sally Rooney refused to sell the publishing rights of her latest novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You” to the Israeli Modan Publishing House. Shortly after the news emerged, some users on Twitter perceived the author's decision as a rejection of the Hebrew Language. They began circulating the claim that her rejection rests upon anti- Semitic ground.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the claim and found it misleading. Rooney indeed declined a translation offer proposed by the Israeli Publisher, but she accepted the idea of the Hebrew translation itself. As mentioned earlier, the bestselling Irish author had her two previous novels translated into Hebrew and published by the Publisher. However, Rooney confirmed that she would not allow the same under the current circumstances. According to the Washington Post, an Israeli newspaper, Haaretz reported that Rooney’s agent had informed Modan that she was not interested in a Hebrew translation because she participated in a boycott. The L. A. Times reported that Rooney addressed the misrepresentation of her decision, asserting that she is not boycotting Hebrew but Israel. 

Rooney’s decision comes in response to a campaign led by The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. The Palestinian-led movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians. Rooney is not the first prominent author to decline an offer to publish in Israel. in 2012,  Alice Walker would not allow a Hebrew translation for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Color Purple’’ in support of the rights of the Palestinian people. Therefore, Rooney decided to support the Palestinians' rights by boycotting Israeli institutions, not Hebrew Language.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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