Photo: The Cut
Seventy prominent writers, poets and playwrights from several continents, have signed a letter endorsing Sally Rooney’s decision to turn down an offer with an Israel publishing house, describing it as “an exemplary response to the mounting injustices inflicted on Palestinians,” said Artists for Palestine UK on Monday.
Among the signatories are award-winning Irish authors Niamh Campbell and Kevin Barry; Rachel Kushner, Eileen Myles and Eliot Weinburger from the US; Monica Ali, Caryl Churchill, China Miéville and Kamila Shamsie from the UK.
The writers say that in May this year Rooney was one of more than 16,000 artists who “… condemned Israel’s crimes in ‘A Letter Against Apartheid’. Israeli apartheid, they said, is ‘sustained by international complicity; it is our collective responsibility to redress this harm’.”
Despite reports that two bookshop chains with outlets both in Israel and in settlements in the occupied West Bank say they are pulling Rooney’s novels from their shops in retaliation, the signatories – including publishers Alexandra Pringle, Jacques Testard and Carmen Callil – affirmed their commitment to the Palestinian people, saying: “Like her [Rooney], we will continue to respond to the Palestinian call for effective solidarity, just as millions supported the campaign against apartheid in South Africa.”
“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 Defense — is therefore an exemplary response to the mounting injustices inflicted on Palestinians”, the letter read.
“It is less than a year since Human Rights Watch concluded that Israel had ‘dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians’, amounting to the ‘crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution’. It is only a few months since the last bombing of Gaza, since the most recent incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the new round of expulsion orders in occupied East Jerusalem, it added.