Israeli bookstores remove Sally Rooney’s Hebrew titles from sale

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Israeli bookstores remove Sally Rooney’s Hebrew titles from sale

The two chains said they would stop selling her books after the author refused to have her latest novel translated into Hebrew

Sally Rooney, (Pako Mera/Alamy Live News. Via Jewish News)
Sally Rooney, (Pako Mera/Alamy Live News. Via Jewish News)

Two major Israeli bookstore chains announced last week they would stop selling any of Sally Rooney’s books after the author said she would not allow a Hebrew translation of her latest work.

The chains – Tzomet Sefarim and Steimatzky, which operate over 200 stores between them – said all of her previous volumes would be removed from their shelves and websites.

It comes after the bestselling author declared last month that she was withholding the Hebrew translation rights for her latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You.

She said she was looking for a publisher that distanced itself from what she termed “apartheid against Palestinians”.

The previous two books had been translated in Hebrew by the Israeli firm Modan.

Rooney’s decision attracted both praise from BDS, the Israel boycott movement, and criticism from Israel advocates.

She said in a statement in October: “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.”

But Gitit Levy-Paz, a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, wrote in a column for the Forward: “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.”

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