Sally Rooney Inspires Israeli Bookstores to Do BDS on Themselves

Much like everyone else, they’re mad about the Irish millennial novelist

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 17: Sally Rooney speaks onstage during the Hulu Panel at Winter TCA 2...
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Two Israeli booksellers have pulled the novels of Sally Rooney from both their brick-and-mortar shops and online sites, the BBC reported Friday. The two companies, Steimatzky and Tzomet Sefarim, said they found that Rooney’s depictions of bourgeois Irish millennials who cloak their latent careerist impulses in coy self-rebuke and leftist euphemism failed to live up to her professed Marxist ideals. Just kidding. It’s because she endorsed BDS.

The boycott is the sellers’ response to news last month that Rooney had declined to sell the Hebrew translation rights to her latest novel to the Israeli publishing house Modan in protest of the ongoing occupation of Palestine. In a statement clarifying her stance, she wrote: “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.”

But now, you won’t even find Rooney’s first two novels, Conversation with Friends and Normal People, both of which were translated into Hebrew, in any Steimatzky and Tzomet Sefarim outlets. When it comes to the question Beautiful World, Where Are You, if the beautiful world in question is Rooney’s vibrant universe of tense poetry readings and bisexual love triangles, the answer is that you will not find it in these two booksellers’ collective 200 outlets across Israel or online.