Sally Rooney should just mime her next novel

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

Sally Rooney no doubt thinks she’s as refreshingly woke as a tub of Ben & Jerry’s vegan-friendly ice cream. Not so. The popular Irish author is more broken than awoken.

In denying the Israeli company she previously employed the rights to translate her latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You?, into Hebrew, Rooney lamented: “I do not feel it would be right to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not distance itself from apartheid.”

The literary world will surely not wait long for this paragon of virtue to cancel the translation of her novels into Mandarin, Russian, Turkish, Arabic and every other tongue spoken in states where free speech is punishable by imprisonment or death.

Beautiful World, Where Are You?, the new novel by Sally Rooney – available in 45 languages but not Hebrew.

Reserving dubious ire for just one language out of the 46 her books are read in doesn’t just defy morality but simple common sense. To be on entirely safe ground, Rooney should consider miming her next novel.

It’s been written before in these pages but bears repetition: Israeli society pays a heavy price for the status quo in the West Bank, where almost 500,000 settlers live in territory identified by countries, including the UK, for a future Palestinian state. A 2017 poll showed only 37 percent of Israelis support settlers.

There are many reasons why settlers feel emboldened, not least the horse-trading of Israeli coalitions and internecine conflict and Iranian-sponsored terrorism at the heart of the Palestinian national movement.

This frustratingly complex, heart-breaking stalemate is not helped – perhaps it’s even made worse – by Rooney’s senseless, selective indignation.

About the Author
Richard has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. He is one of Britain's leading Jewish voices, writing for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year. In July 2022 he was named one of “39 People Making Waves in the Jewish Media Sphere” by the website Future of Jewish.
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