Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson has defended Sally Rooney amid controversy over her decision not to sell translation rights for her new book to an Israel-based publishing house.
brahamson, who co-directed Rooney’s hit monster Normal people, said it was “appalling” to read some of the criticism of his position not to publish Beautiful people, where are you with an Israeli publisher.
The acclaimed director is of Jewish descent and this is the first time he has spoken out on the controversy as he retaliates against allegations of anti-Semitism.
Rooney is a strong supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestments and economic sanctions against Israel.
âAlthough I do not agree with all aspects of the BDS movement, its support is a principled and defensible position motivated among the majority of people by a genuine concern for human rights,â he said.
He also defended her on a personal level in a tweet he described as “some thoughts on recent coverage of Rooney’s position on Israel.”
âI know Sally is a very insightful person of moral courage and I admire that she uses her platform to support the causes she believes in,â he said.
âAbove all, I completely reject the suggestion that those who share his point of view or who strongly criticize Israel must harbor deep-rooted anti-Semitic animosity. “
In reports that made headlines around the world, Rooney defended his decision not to sell the translation rights for his new book to an Israel-based publishing house.
She said she wanted to express her solidarity with the “Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality”.
In a statement, she said she felt unable to work with Modan, describing it as a company “that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and does not support the rights of the Palestinian people as stipulated by the UN.” .
She said she was “very proud” to have had her two previous novels translated into Hebrew, but so far she had “chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israel-based publishing house” .
âOf course, many states other than Israel are guilty of serious human rights violations. This was also the case for South Africa during the campaign against apartheid.
“In this particular case, I am responding to the call of Palestinian civil society, including all major Palestinian unions and writers’ unions,” she said.
She said she knew not everyone would agree with her decision.
“I don’t think it would be fair for me under the current circumstances to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the rights of the Palestinian people stipulated by the UN, âshe said.
âThe Hebrew translation rights to my new novel are still available, and if I can find a way to sell these rights that meets the BDS movement’s institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very happy and proud to do so. “