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Sally Rooney’s Israeli publisher bucks move to boycott her books

Sally Rooney takes part in a panel during the Winter 2020 Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 17, 2020, in Pasadena, California. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Sally Rooney takes part in a panel during the Winter 2020 Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 17, 2020, in Pasadena, California. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The Israeli publisher of Irish writer Salley Rooney says it will not stop selling her titles even after the country’s two biggest bookshop chains took them off their shelves in protest of her refusal to translate her latest book into Hebrew due to her criticism of Israel.

The 30-old-author of three novels said last month that she could not partner with a Hebrew publisher that did not “publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.”

That prompted a furious reaction in Israel, including by the Steimatzky chain, which has 130 branches. The company removed Rooney’s works from its website, including the title at the center of the controversy, “Beautiful World, Where Are You.”

Tzomet Sfarim, a chain of about 90 branches, also stopped marketing Rooney’s 2018 “Normal People” online.

However, Modan Publishing House, which has translated her works, tells AFP it will keep selling Rooney’s books despite her stance toward Israel.

“We do not support a cultural boycott, and therefore we will continue to sell Sally Rooney’s works as usual,” says Tali Thelet, a company spokeswoman.

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