Novelist Sally Rooney wins massive support for boycotting Israel

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BEST-SELLING Irish novelist Sally Rooney has won massive support from fellow writers and artists for her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) which works to ‘end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law’ and calls for a complete boycott of Israel.

Rooney incurred the wrath of the Israeli regime and its supporters when she refused to allow her new novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, to be translated into Hebrew by the Israeli publisher Modan.

Rooney responded to the predictable slurs of ‘anti-Semitism’ when, last month, she issued a statement saying ‘it would be an honour’ to have her book translated into Hebrew only by a company that shared her political position of opposing the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

Rooney explained that she was convinced that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories was no different to the former apartheid regime in South Africa, and this justified the international campaign to boycott Israel in the same way.

If the Zionist regime and its supporters around the world thought that the coordinated lying campaign to brand Rooney an anti-Semite would intimidate her then they were badly mistaken.

This week, the novelist received public backing from 70 writers and publishers for her stand.

A letter organised by Artists for Palestine UK – a cultural network ‘standing together for Palestinian rights’ came out in support of her decision.

The letter states: ‘Palestinian artists have asked their international colleagues to end complicity in Israel’s violations of their human rights, and this for many of us is a clear ethical obligation. Sally Rooney’s refusal to sign a contract with a mainstream Israeli publisher – which markets the work of the Israeli Ministry of Defence – is therefore an exemplary response to the mounting injustices inflicted on Palestinians.’

It goes on to point out that Human Rights Watch concluded in April that Israel is ‘committing crimes of apartheid and persecution.’

One of the signatures of this letter, Kamila Shamsie, a winner of the Women’s Prize, who had previously had a literary prize taken away from her over her support for BDS, was defiant saying she would not allow her work to be published in Israel ‘on the basis that there is no Israeli publisher completely unentangled from the state’ and she refuses to ‘cross the picket line formed by Palestinian civil society, which has asked everyone who wants to change the situation to not cooperate with organisations that in any way are complicit with the Israeli state.’

The movement for a total boycott of the Zionist regime has spread throughout the world even reaching into the Miss Universe Contest.

Yesterday, Rafaele Plastira, the Greek Miss Universe contestant, officially announced her withdrawal from the pageant which is due to be held in Israel.

In an Instagram post she announced: ‘I will not be attending “Miss Universe” this year. The reason for that is the country’, adding: ‘I can’t go up on that stage and act like nothing is happening when people are fighting for their lives out there.’

This expression of the mass support amongst artists for a boycott in support of the rights of Palestinians comes in the week that the Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that she is intending to declare the legitimate government of Gaza, Hamas, a ‘terrorist organisation’ and that anyone inviting support for the political wing of Hamas in Britain will face criminal charges.

Millions of workers and their trade unions support the struggle of the Palestinians.

The TUC has passed countless motions in support for a boycott of Israel and now is the time to put this support into action.

Workers must demand the trade unions organise a mass campaign of strike action to bar all Israeli goods and services from the UK and force the government to recognise the independent state of Palestine.

The Tories will never do this, so the issue is to call a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will recognise and support the independent state of Palestine.