The how and why of cultural boycotts of Israel

Irish writer Sally Rooney, one of the most popular writers of her generation, just announced that she won’t allow an Israeli publisher to translate her latest book on political grounds related to Israeli state and corporate complicity with the occupation of Palestine.

Here’s my comments to the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age about it all (though I wish the story had Palestinian voices, vital that they’re heard):

Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein, who has previously criticised Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, says there was opposition to his book My Israel Question before it was even published in 2006. For his writings, Loewenstein – who lived in East Jerusalem from 2016 to 2020 – has been labelled a self-hating Jew, ostracised, and sent death threats.

“What is galling but unsurprising is that many people are so outraged by Rooney’s decision – more outraged by that than they are by what Israel is doing day to day under Israeli occupation,” he says. “You do something like this because you want to challenge the comfortable status Israel enjoys around the world in spite of its behaviour.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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