Dear Sally Rooney

Dear Sally Rooney,

I am a fan. I loved Normal People. In my opinion it is a wonderful 21st century rendering of Pride and Prejudice, in all its digitalised, sexualized, post-modernised, politically correct glory. I believe Jane A. may have been dancing in her grave when it was published.

But regrettably, this is not fan mail, there is a more pressing matter at hand and I will get straight to the point; I am sorely disappointed you have forbad your latest novel, Beautiful world, Where are you, to be translated into Hebrew.

I understand you align yourself with the BDS movement, which demands a cultural as well as an economic and political boycott of Israel. The BDS are not alone in being against Israeli government policy towards Palestine and the state’s human rights abuses against Palestinians, there are many of us on the west side of the separation fence that are equally against those policies and abuses. I and many of my acquaintances are in that group. We demonstrate, petition against and are active in numerous ways in our opposition to both. Your translation boycott will have no effect on our political position and activism. However there are more people among the Israeli public that waver in their opinions about the Israel-Palestine question. They oscillate between indifference and ambivalence. It is those people who can potentially be mobilised to think more deeply about this burning issue.

Sally Rooney, you have achieved great success and celebrity in response to your works of literature. In short you are now a public figure and certainly hold sway with your readers and fans. When you make a statement, not least a political one, ears prick up.

I would like to think that your support for the BDS is inspired by the wish for Palestinians to be given full human rights as all people of this planet deserve. I am supposing too, that you would like Israeli public opinion to actively support the need for this basic humanistic demand. In my view you have the opportunity of making these statements loud and clear.

Let me remind you that when Edward Said’s book ‘Orientalism’ was published in Hebrew in the year 2000, it included ‘An introduction to the Hebrew reader’. How about taking this example and using your literary platform to make some statements about your sympathies and humanistic views vis-à-vis the Palestinian cause. This could have a strong impact on your Hebrew-speaking readership.

Turning your back on your Hebrew audience by boycotting the translation, will at most antagonise your readers, rather than appealing to their humanity and encouraging them to be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

Sally Rooney please help us to find our Beautiful World, so that we can all live as ‘fairly’ Normal People,



About the Author
Gabriela Cohen is a British-trained osteopath. She lives in Tel Aviv and works from her private practice in the city and also volunteers with PHR (physicians for human rights) in Palestinian villages on the weekends. She is a writer of fiction and non-fiction and has a blog,
Related Topics
Related Posts