Irish Author Sally Rooney Does Her Bit To Ensure This World is Anything But Beautiful

Photo by Chris Boland /

A few days ago, researcher and occasional Israellycool contributor David Collier released a 202-page report on antisemitism in Ireland, finding (unsurprisingly) “a clear correlation between levels of anti-Israel activity and levels of antisemitism within a group.” As if on cue, news comes that bestselling Irish author Sally Rooney won’t allow her recently published novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You?” to be published in Hebrew – because she supports a cultural boycott of Israel.

The Hebrew-language publisher of Rooney’s first two books, Modan Publishing House, told Haaretz last month that Rooney won’t allow her new book to be published in Hebrew because she supports an Israel boycott. Rooney’s agent confirmed the news to Haaretz.

Rooney, 30, has been open about her opposition to Israel. In July, soon after the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Rooney was one of thousands of artists to sign a letter accusing Israel of apartheid and calling for its international isolation. The letter called for “an end to the support provided by global powers to Israel and its military; especially the United States,” and for governments to “cut trade, economic and cultural relations.”

Rooney’s characters generally have leftist politics, and her books invoke Israel in that context. In “Normal People,” the main characters attend a protest against Israel during the 2014 Gaza War. And in Rooney’s debut novel, “Conversations with Friends,” a character named Bobbi talks about how relationships are about power, but people instead focus on “niceness.” She then says, “I mean this is an issue in public discourse. We end up asking like, is Israel ‘nicer’ than Palestine.”

Just to be clear: Hebrew is the language of Jewish people around the world, and is not the invention of the state of Israel. So Rooney is punishing all Jewish people for the supposed crimes of Israel.

Some are claiming she is boycotting an Israeli publisher, which is not the same thing:

Does this mean Rooney will be working with a Hebrew publisher outside of Israel? Does this mean Rooney will also be refusing to publish her book in Chinese or Russian, over China’s or Russia’s very real human rights violations. Because unless the answer to both those questions is a resounding yes, her decision singling out the Jewish state – no, Jews – is nothing short of antisemitism.

Beautiful World, Devoid of Racism and Antisemitism, Where Are You?


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

Help Keep This Important Work Going