Sally Rooney and the BDS movement

Sir, – We should be very proud of Ireland’s Sally Rooney, a writer who is not only a successful and respected author, but a person who cares about the suffering people of Palestine. Noting the Human Rights Watch report , and that of Israeli NGO B’tselem, that Israel is guilty of crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, she has directed that her new novel is not published by an Israeli publisher. She is happy to see it published elsewhere in Hebrew.

In Ireland, over 1,300 of our finest artists have stood with the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. They have heard the call from Palestinian society, as once we heard the call from South Africa, to help put an end to the decades-long discrimination in the treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Separate and inferior roads, hospitals and water supply are the everyday price. House demolitions, illegal land grabs and administrative detention (internment), including of children, are highlighted in these reports. Some 600,000 settlers , with the backing of the Israeli army, have taken over land in the West Bank, which was earmarked as the future Palestinian state. They terrorise their neighbours, and destroy their trees and crops. As someone who has seen for myself the early-morning queues of Palestinian workers, waiting for hours in horrific metal grids in order to go to work in Israel, it is an image I can never erase. These crimes against humanity must end. Sally Rooney is giving her important voice towards that end. She is due our thanks. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6W.


Sir, – The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) commends acclaimed author Sally Rooney for her principled stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people by refusing a deal with Israeli publishing house Modan.

We welcome Ms Rooney’s position and her moral clarity in respecting the Palestinian BDS call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until such time as it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights, ending its oppression of the Palestinian people.

We are proud to count Sally Rooney among the now 1,349 artists who have signed the Irish Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel, a list which continues to grow as more artists in Ireland and internationally recognise that they can show solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for justice by upholding the principles of the institutional cultural boycott of Israel.

As with apartheid South Africa, where states refuse to sanction Israel for its crimes of apartheid, it is up to civil society to act and cultural workers can do this by supporting the BDS call and by refusing to cooperate with institutions that are complicit with the Israeli state’s oppression of the Palestinian people. Sally Rooney is part of the growing international movement that refuses to cross the Palestinian picket line and thus she stands on the right side of history. The struggle continues until this system of apartheid is dismantled and the Palestinian people can live in freedom, justice and equality.

These acts of hope and solidarity are crucial and to be celebrated. We thank Sally Rooney and all artists of conscience who take such principled and courageous stands. May there be many more. – Yours, etc,


Cultural Liaison,

Ireland Palestine

Solidarity Campaign,

Dublin 1.

Sir, – Musing on Sally Rooney's decision not to sell translation rights on her latest novel to the Israeli publishing house Modan, Eugene Tannam (Letters, October 14th) wonders "why is Israel alone held to account?" The point is that Israel is not being held to account.

Israel receives an annual $3 billion in US military aid, retains favourable access to EU markets through the Euro-Med Trade Agreement, despite its wholesale violation of the associated human rights obligations, and can rely on an unconditional US veto at the UN Security Council to thwart Palestinian diplomatic efforts. Closer to home, the produce of illegal Israeli settlements continues to be sold on Irish supermarket shelves. Sally Rooney and the many other artists who support the Palestinian-led BDS movement are to be commended for showing solidarity, integrity and leadership where our supposed political leaders have not. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 4.

Sir, – Hebrew readers don’t know how lucky they are. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.