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Sally Rooney won't let novel be translated to Hebrew by Israeli publisher


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Sally Rooney has turned down an offer from the Israeli publisher that translated her two previous novels into Hebrew, due to her stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Irish author’s second novel Normal People was translated into 46 languages, and it was expected that Beautiful World, Where Are You would reach a similar number. However, Hebrew translation rights have not yet been sold, despite the publisher Modan putting in a bid.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Rooney explained her decision, writing that while she was “very proud” to have had her previous novels translated into Hebrew, she has for now “chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house”.

The statement expressed her desire to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), a campaign that works to “end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law”.

“Earlier this year, the international campaign group Human Rights Watch published a report 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,” Rooney’s statement read.

“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.”

She went on to acknowledge that not everyone will agree with her, but that she did not feel it would be right to collaborate 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”, she said.


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For anyone doubting the efforts of online activism and cultural boycott impact of a criminal, unpunished apartheid regime, read this. It's the stuff like this that gets the Israeli gov mad.

Yes a tweet or a post can't free Palestine, can't have the indigenous Palestinian back to their lands, but it can raise awareness on the issue to get big names to call on the importance of the boycott.

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  • Bambino changed the title to Sally Rooney won't let novel be translated to Hebrew by Israeli publisher

wow this is a strong statement to make. and just after seeing her book displayed and passing on it. Omw back to the store!

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Blue wig


This is a huge coincidence, the first time I heard about her was last week when I had to read one of her short stories for a class! I'm still a bit divided as to wether or not I liked it, but seeing this, we have no choice but to stan :kara:

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Wet Fire

Kamila Shamsie made a similar statement a couple of years ago. So glad to see such big literary figures speaking up on the conflict!

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The Irish standing with the Palestinians is a beautiful thing to see.

I hope everyone notes that she didn't refuse it being translated to Hebrew, but it being translated by an Israeli publishing house. I'm sure publications will choose the anti-semitic headline.

mercurial era
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