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Sally Rooney’s empty Israel boycott What does she think her decision will achieve?

Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty


October 13, 2021   5 mins

Here’s a funny one. In general, regimes of which liberals disapprove tend to try to get books banned; and liberal writers inside and outside those regimes try to get them published. This week we’ve seen the opposite: Sally Rooney has let it be known that she’s refusing to allow the Israeli publisher of her two previous novels to produce a Hebrew edition of her latest one in accordance with her support for a “cultural boycott” of Israel.

Rooney has written another novel about comfortable young westerners overthinking their love-lives. The Israeli state would welcome an edition, but she is withholding it from Israeli readers as a political gesture. Had she written a novel about the suffering of young Palestinians in the occupied territories, and the Israeli state sought to ban it, I imagine she would join all right-minded folk in pressing for a Hebrew edition to be produced.

Sally Rooney has not decided to boycott an entire language. Her decision to refuse the Israeli publisher Modan to publish a Hebrew edition of her latest novel is the refusal of a specific Israeli publisher rather than the refusal of a Jewish language. You may argue the two will add up to the same thing – which non-Israeli publisher is likely to want to produce a Hebrew edition? — but the distinction in principle is not meaningless, and it’s the distinction that she herself makes.

In a statement she said she refused to work with a publisher “that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people”, adding: “The Hebrew-language translation rights to my new novel are still available, and if I can find a way to sell these rights that is compliant with the BDS movement’s institutional boycott guidelines, I will be very pleased and proud to do so.”

I think this is a silly move, but it’s not so obviously silly and/or malign as to be slam-dunked in 280 characters. We need to keep this a manageable length, though, so rather than start from 1967, or 1948, or 19th-century pogroms and the birth of Zionism, let’s start from Rooney’s position — which is that Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian population, and its illegal settlements, are illegitimate and deplorable. Let’s take that as a given, whether or not we agree with it. And let’s shelve, too, the argument that you’re only allowed to boycott Israel if you also boycott Russia, Saudi, China and any other countries whose human rights records bear similar challenge. It’s not necessarily a trivial objection — a key part of the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism is holding Israel to a double standard by “requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” — but it would be, if we’re to approach this issue (as I’m trying to) on Rooney’s terms, to make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Let’s take Rooney’s decision on its own terms. She sees Israel as a baddy. She supports the BDS movement, which holds it legitimate to punish Israel for its badness by economic sanctions and cultural boycotts – on an analogy with the isolation of apartheid-era South Africa. (Is Israel an “apartheid state”? Let’s shelve that one also.) So she won’t let Israel have Beautiful World, Where Are You? because, essentially, they are a baddy and so they Can’t Have Nice Things.

I’m trying to get to the nub of this, which is the question of what her decision achieves — or hopes to. Sanctions and boycotts are intended to strike a blow against a regime, not against its people. (I can’t speak for Rooney, but I’m presuming she deplores the Israeli state rather than its Jewish inhabitants.) The most powerful arguments against them have always been that in seeking to do the former, they achieve the latter. And, indeed, you can argue that thanks to the backfire effect, they sometimes help the regime by uniting its people in being pissed off about the sanctions.

Still, in economic terms, a successful boycott will seek to hurt a country’s GDP; it will discourage international investment; it may specifically prevent it buying weapons, energy and the other things that a regime needs to thrive. And in cultural terms, it will seek to damage its soft power, and the regime’s internal claim to legitimacy, by signalling its isolation from the international community.

So to take the example of apartheid South Africa, you could make a case for refusing to play international cricket there, or disapproving when major rock stars played Sun City. There’s propaganda value to hosting an international sporting tournament — those who blether on about sport being “above politics” haven’t been paying attention — or having Dolly Parton play your national stadium. It signals, soft-power-wise, that your country, and by extension its government, is a legitimate member of the great family of nations. Bad luck on innocent cricket fans of all ethnic and political stripes; but more infuriating, you’d hope, to the cricket-loving white supremacists in charge of the country who felt humiliated by the snub.

But books, I submit, are a totally different type of good from weapons, financial instruments, petroleum, sporting events or Dolly Parton concerts. They are no use to a regime; and they can sometimes be a nuisance to it. Reading is a private, rather than a communal event. Governments, as a rule, couldn’t give two hoots about what its citizens are reading at bedtime. You can’t hoist the flag over a scattered population of readers losing half an hour here or there, on a timetable of their own devising, in an imaginary world.

The reason that when states do take an interest in books it’s to ban them is precisely that they don’t fit into an authoritarian order (Israel, I should add, is not in that sense anything like an authoritarian regime). The widespread liberal enthusiasm for the free circulation of books links to this — as well as to the idea, though we shouldn’t push it too far, that fiction is in some way a moral agent. Here we get to George Eliot’s old line that “if Art does not enlarge men’s sympathies, it does nothing morally”. Books can change minds, spread ideas and, yes, enlarge sympathies.

So, to repeat, what does Rooney intend to achieve? She’s a bestseller, sure; but not to the extent, I imagine, that missing out on her new paperback will damage the Israeli economy. The publishing house is a private rather than a state concern. There’s no soft-power blow that withdrawing her book strikes to the prestige of the Israeli regime, either. As I say, they couldn’t give a toss which of their citizens get to read about the tangled love-lives and troubled consciences of Rooney’s protagonists.

And in deciding that ordinary Israeli citizens should not get to read her book (my guess, for what it’s worth, is that most of her Israeli readers will be of a liberal internationalist bent in any case) Rooney seems to sell her own work short by indicating that there’s nothing in it that might do the private and disaggregated good of enlarging sympathies, changing minds, expanding sensibilities. That it’s just product, like the tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream that you also can’t buy in Israeli occupied territories.

Perhaps, as with Ben & Jerry’s, an Israeli boycott will be good branding for that product in the liberal west. But it’s hard to imagine it will do a damn thing for the Palestinians.


Sam Leith is literary editor of The Spectator. His forthcoming book, The Haunted Wood: A History of Childhood Reading, is out in September.
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Rob Lothian
Rob Lothian
2 years ago

Her main achievement will be making herself feel just a little bit more superior

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Also her main aim.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Everyone is looking at this back to front, Sally Rooney obviously loves the Jews more than any other people on earth, they are the only people she has given the mercy of sparing them from more of her miserabilist millennial chick lit.

Last edited 2 years ago by George Glashan
Mark Piney
Mark Piney
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Spot-on

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Heh!

Alix Nathan
Alix Nathan
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Lucky Israelis, I say. They won’t have to read the junk.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Seconded – but really who cares what she does and why are we reading that here ????

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

So we might look forward to a headline in an Israeli newspaper: Sally Rooney bans her book; Israelis express relief.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Hey, let’s not insult chick-lit here.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

And she is.

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Indeed, it’s a narcissistic act.

Rach Smith
Rach Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Virtue signaller extraordinaire

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Virtue-signalling par excellence.

Matt B
Matt B
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Lothian

Great article. In future, will publishers worldwide have to self-audit or even recall their back catalogues unless they break neutrality (as continually redefined and reset)?

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt B
Joe Wein
Joe Wein
2 years ago

In her quest to prevent Israelis from reading her work in Hebrew, Sally Rooney has persuaded me not to read her work in English.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

My impression of it is that it should be sold by weight.
“I’ll have six ounces of the Rooney, three ounces of the Radhika Sangani and…have I got enough for any of the Marian Keyes?”

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon Redman
alan Osband
alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I’d rather she’d been in the mix with Israel Keyes

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

My my guess is she is just a de-platformer, a canceler, a boycotter, someone who shuts down others who think differently. Her Ilk have taken the Universities, Social Media, and the MSM and this is just what they do.

Entitled, Self-righteous twits. Has she spent time in Israel? Palestine? Does she know the actual, on the ground, Truth?

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I remember a line from Normal People, in which two goodies are discussing a baddie.

Goodie #1: But isn’t he a Nazi?
Goodie #2: [ironically]: No, he’s just *really into free speech*.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I watched a couple of episodes. It had the maturity of a high school play. Maybe the books are better.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

Boring and derivative. At her best moments, she writes like a lobotomised Marguerite Duras. I tried and couldn’t keep going.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
2 years ago

“What does she think her decision will achieve?”
I would have thought that was obvious, Sam:
Like all hypermoralising social justice warriors and preening wokeists, she is seeking effusive approbation from her peers for being so “courageous”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Eddie Johnson
R S Foster
R S Foster
2 years ago
Reply to  Eddie Johnson

…I wonder how “courageous” she would be if Mossad were inclined to treat their overseas antagonists in the same that Islamists like Hamas are inclined to treat pretty much anyone not explicitly on their side of the argument? If indeed, Israel was indeed the “terrorist state” that the Anti-Semites who hate it because they hate the Jews allege it is…

Last edited 2 years ago by R S Foster
Laurence Morris
Laurence Morris
2 years ago
Reply to  Eddie Johnson

It is a sales technique. She is expecting effusive praise from the SJWs and liberal critics who will then rush out and buy the books of this ‘brave’ author.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
2 years ago

Are the bien pensants of the Left more “Pro-Palestine” or “Anti-Israel”?
They mostly pay lip-service to the Pro-Palestinian cause, yet their demands and actions always seem to be against Israel and Israelis, so although it’s hard to “know”, it’s pretty easy to read between the lines.
Another darling of the fauxialist Left – Ken Loach – is unstinting in his condemnation of Israel and any artist who has any association with Israel.
A few years ago, the BBC, Guardian and Indy all gave time and space to Ken to berate Radiohead for daring to play a concert in Tel Aviv. Having mounted his soapbox, Ken condemned the band insisting that they chose “to stand with the oppressor rather than the oppressed”, but failed to mention that whilst he is happy to criticise any artist who has any commercial dealings with Israel or Israelis, that doesn’t actually stop him from releasing his own films there!
God forbid his much-publicised social conscience should stop him banking the money that his films have earned there. One has to wonder why his morals do not extend to cover his own work, only those of other artists?
For all the bleating about the plight of Palestinians, these people seem to regard the victims of oppression differently – based on who is doing the oppressing.
Loach trumpeted his virtue about human rights abuses, by insisting no one should perform at Eurovision when it was held in Israel – but was there even a squeak from Ken or Corbyn and the other useful idiots when Russia hosted Eurovision?
And how about human rights violations in Venezuela? There was widespread and global condemnation of Venezuelan security forces shooting dead civilians after anti-govt demonstrations in 2014. Dozens of the protest leaders were locked up and tortured. In 2015 Ken was front and centre as the keynote speaker of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign – giving the regime support and legitimacy. Where were his principles then as a defender of opposition movements?
The pound-shop Messiah of the left, Jeremy Corbyn, despite a career defining himself as a human-rights campaigner, consistently embraced left-wing tyrants such as Hugo ChĂĄvez and Fidel Castro (who he praised as a ”champion of social justice”), who locked up opponents and muzzled the press. Corbyn, Loach, Rooney and their ilk never miss an opportunity to tell us that they stand with the oppressed – yet they consistently end up revering oppressors.
What is most unsettling is how much of the liberal left media allow Loach, Sally Rooney – and far too many others for it to be coincidental – to hide their obvious anti-semitism by calling it anti-Zionism, and fete them for taking a ‘brave and principled stand’!

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
2 years ago

I for one am absolutely impressed by the moral superiority of Ms Rooney. I bow to her magnificent strength and courage. I am struck by the sheer brilliance of her compassion. What an incredible person with a cervix she is.

All hail.

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

You forgot to mention how “stunning and brave” she is.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
2 years ago

It has archive one thing. I will never read one of her books.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago

Her aim is entirely performative, not economic or truly political. What more is there to discuss?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

In today’s article about Kathleen Stock, the author makes the point that while the suffragettes said ‘deeds not words’, today’s activists say ‘words, not deeds’. On the surface it may look as if Rooney is performing a brave deed, but as you imply, it’s really all about words, about how she appears to her peers. This is the difference between performing and being performative.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

A neat and thought-provoking distinction. Thank you!

Victoria Hart
Victoria Hart
2 years ago

Her name, her face and the details of her book are on the front page of The Times and other newspapers, she has demonstrated her political beliefs clearly and unequivocally, and I’m sure she is feeling that warm little inner shiver of smugness that accompanies such vaccuous virtue-signalling. Her action is not intended to persuade anyone of the rightness of her beliefs or, indeed, of the quality of her work…which is just as well, really.

R S Foster
R S Foster
2 years ago

“…I’m presuming she deplores the Israeli State, rather than it’s Jewish inhabitants” Why? I’d guess most people would presume pretty much the opposite…

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago

And let’s shelve, too, the argument that you’re only allowed to boycott Israel if you also boycott Russia, Saudi, China and any other countries whose human rights records bear similar challenge.” No, let’s not do that. “Is Israel an â€œapartheid state”? Let’s shelve that one also.” And let’s not do that either. (It isn’t). Let’s not shelve the hundreds of thousands and possibly millions killed in US/UK military ventures in the last few decades. Let’s factor all of that in and more ask why Rooney is only banning a publisher from one country where the profits are negligible compared to the money she makes from her English language publications.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

In fairness to the author, he has a word limit and I think he was trying to drive home the narrower point that literature is different from ordinary goods.

alan Osband
alan Osband
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

But she isn’t trying to stop anyone reading her books . She is doing this to publicise and sell more of them .
Any Israeli who wants to will read it in English .

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  alan Osband

You may be correct. It must be harder to sell airport novels during a pandemic.

Steve Walker
Steve Walker
2 years ago

“I can’t speak for Rooney, but I’m presuming she deplores the Israeli state rather than its Jewish inhabitants.”

I wouldn’t be too sure about that. As a general rule, middle class Irish ‘Marxists’ tend not to have particularly enlightened views about Joos, sorry I mean, Zionists.

Last edited 2 years ago by Steve Walker
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Walker

Good point. I’ve been pretty shocked at what I’ve read today about Ireland’s rabid antisemitism.

William Tallon
William Tallon
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Living in Ireland I can honestly say the level of antisemitism here masquerading as support for the Palestinian ’cause’ is quite shocking. I can remember the Six-Day War in 1967 and the strange thing is that the level of support for Israel back then was huge. That sentiment started to change in the 80’s and was driven chiefly by our new left wing intellectual and cultural elite types like Fintan O’Toole.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

The Israelies do not know how lucky they are. Do you think she could be persuades to similarly spare the British public

Last edited 2 years ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
peterkettle
peterkettle
2 years ago

Sally Rooney, latest in a line of overpraised writers, is not allowing a Hebrew translation of her latest novel. This immature act reveals the paucity of her imagination and her sublime ignorance about alienating readers. Me, for instance. I will never read another of her books or recommend them to anyone. Anyway, after getting through the first twenty pages of Normal People I gave up. She is a classic book club writer, and she will have the approval of the unthinking Left. Guardianistas lap up her brand of navel gazing. At least I have given her a try. The word ordinary sums her writing up and once again I find myself against the accepted opinion that Rooney is a significant writer; she is not in any sense to be compared with a truly fine writer, but the Waterstones promotion would have you think she’s Jane Austen. She ain’t nuthin’ like.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

This is all water under the bridge. Most well-educated Israelis speak and write English well anyway. You’re gonna get this — as culture in the West gets padded out, in order to remain conspicuous in this multichannel world, as well as somehow of some interest to an increasingly multicultural world or community, jumping on the bandwagon of the day is your ticket. The hands reaching out to help you on board are your kind of hands. They are there to smooth out your own vanity. There are all sorts of these bandwagons around, of course.

Madeleine Jones
Madeleine Jones
2 years ago

I don’t get it. Authors today lose publishing deals and have their books ‘unprinted’ due to wrongthink. Most Anglosphere writers are walking on thin ice, and must watch their tongue. Meanwhile, the Sally Rooney’s of the world can do whatever they like.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Sorry, but you cite no evidence for your assertion.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Israel has bigger things to worry about. Like the eruption of rockets that perennially threatens it. More than three thousand were fired at Israel earlier this year in the space of a week. Would a decision by some author of books to refuse a translation of his or her latest book into Icelandic, on account of, say, Iceland’s whaling activities, rattle Iceland when, say, one of that country’s two biggest volcanoes is rumbling away, spitting fire and gushing out gas and ash? Nature in that sense has more than got its own back. And all Israel can do is batten down the hatches for a short while and make the most of the calm moments. Indeed, Israel has very much made great progress during relative peace. Its success in modernising itself makes it obvious that, although an oddity in the region, it is outward-looking, has presence on the international stage (as with the Abraham Accords), and no doubt remains alert to solutions that would improve and/or guarantee the security as well as the future of its citizens. All that must vex many West-based, left-leaning, anti-Israel artists and entertainers and sportsmen and sportswomen whose awareness of the utter parochialism of their own artistic and sporting endeavours as well as showmanship, in the morass of the multichannel, internet age, leads them to try to do Israel down, in part because it’s a handy way to diversify their outlook, to dispel their parochialism. It’s a way to elevate oneself, to give one’s own particular art or craft the veneer of wider relevance and respectability in an increasingly multicultural, globalised world. It’s what happens in the internet age, when art and culture have been so well padded out, the waist-high culture. Israel, certainly to the artists and sports performers an oddity, has over the course of its history not succumbed to the feeble, shrunken and defeated look of the humiliated and ostracised that would be the chief aim of the BDS crowd. To end up like that, shrunken, defeated, humiliated, ostracised, is to end up parochial in mind. The petty strikes against Israel that stand out during the relatively calm times for it cannot undermine the confidence of its citizens. The petty remain stuck in a rut more than ever, is the upshot. The deadly rockets go even over their own heads.

aaron david
aaron david
2 years ago

I generally do not read romance novels, no matter whom they are directed towards, but my take from booksellers is that she writes to her lowest common denominator, liberal women in their 20s-30s and so gives them what they most desperately crave, moral and physical superiority.
Now, if she was an actual writer worth reading for ideas, she would be working on a book to help define the Palestinian problem, as she sees it, and not from the blatant antisemitism that comes through in her current stance. And this should be, given her professed proclivities and politics, given away for free to spread her message.
But, alas. She doesn’t seem to have that foresight. Or gumption.

Charles Mimoun
Charles Mimoun
2 years ago

It doesn’t have any effect, in any case, the Israelis quite naturally boycott the anti-Israelis. The latest example is Ben and Gerry.
If she wants to boycott, she needs to know, that the Emirates are really not in that mood. I just propose her to compare the economy of Israel to that of Ireland…

Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
2 years ago

I doubt you can deplore the state of Israel without including its people. I do not give Rooney that much credit or worth. Beneath the pleasant persona lurks a dealer of hate.

alan Osband
alan Osband
2 years ago

Ok since Rooney was European student debating champion perhaps she can be asked to reply .Then we can all vote on the winner . (Or maybe with each answering the other’s reply )
Sam Leith has written a book on rhetoric so they should be well matched

It seems to me her real purpose is to fuse the trendiness of Rooney’s books with the trendiness of supporting the Palestinians , to the mutual benefit of her book sales and the Palestinian cause .

It’s all about column inches .Like when Posh took up with Becks .

Last edited 2 years ago by alan Osband
Maighread G
Maighread G
2 years ago
Reply to  alan Osband

Sally Rooney already gets loads of column inches. She doesn’t court the press, doesn’t give many interviews. I believe her reasons for joining this boycott are sincere. It’s her book, her choice.

Michael James
Michael James
2 years ago

I assume Israelis can obtain the book in its original English-language edition.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
2 years ago

The existence of this article shows that Rooney’s gesture is not so pointless – one more article where the words “Israel” and “apartheid state” appear in the same sentence. But as for the practical import of this gesture, it’s not clear – I’m sure most liberal and outward-looking Israelis are well able to read Rooeny’s work in English if they so wish, and at the same time, I’m not sure how much of a demand there is for boddice-rippers in the more conservative, Orthodox parts of Israel.

zdpv9qf9gg
zdpv9qf9gg
2 years ago

“Rooney has written another novel about comfortable young westerner’s overthinking their love-lives.” Ouch. I agree Rooney is an overrated writer, I don’t share her politics, I do believe it is completely her business where she decides to publish her book though. And it gives publicity to BDS which – sadly in my opinion – will expand its appeal to the kind of people who read Sally Rooney novels and perceive her as high status.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin
2 years ago

A blessing in disguise…

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
2 years ago

Why would anyone after a certain age pay any attention to a young woman who confects stories for other people her age? She needs to live a longer life to have anything to say to others who have learned a thing or two from that hard teacher, experience..

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Very nasty case of Left Wing Face.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

I’m no fan of Israel, but it strikes me that Rooney refusing to allow her stuff to be translated into Hebrew is not really harming their culture.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

She’s not even banning it from being translated, she’s just refusing to work with the Israeli publisher. It’s a storm in a teacup

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Toma(y)to, tomato.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
2 years ago

There are two different units of measurement here. So, it is difficult to compare the financial gain of sales of a book in one country against the value of gain in virtue signalled in another country..

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
2 years ago

I call it what it is: Jew hatred

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

I’d never heard of her until she banned the edition. Nor probably had many other people – which I suspect was her objective.

Maighread G
Maighread G
2 years ago

She is very well known and her books sell really well. She doesn’t court publicity, so I don’t think that was her objective.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
2 years ago

It’s virtue-signalling, Sam. That pathetic habit that you recently wrote an article in defence of.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

Ultimately it’s her choice. If she doesn’t want to work with Israeli companies, take their money or buy their products that’s entirely up to her. I avoid buying products from Amazon because I’m not a fan of the way they treat their employees, thankfully we’re all free to make our own decisions about who we work with or support

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Well we know your stance anyway, because you have already in the past week conflated apartheid South Africa with Israel. I think you should read up on apartheid South Africa.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

I did no such thing. Actually read what I wrote then come back to me with your apology

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Nope, I won’t. So you agree then that apartheid South Africa and Israel bear no resemblance.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

They are completely different situations. Now apologise for accusing me of something I clearly didn’t do

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s the pettiness shown towards Israelis that is troublesome. What next? The denial of a room to Israelis at some hotel or guest house in Europe on account of their having laughed in the lobby when entering when the Palestinians are suffering so much?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

She hasn’t stopped Israelis from reading the book, or even prevented it being translated into Hebrew. She’s merely said she doesn’t want to do business with an Israeli company, which is her right. Handily it’s also your right to boycott her book if you don’t agree with her decision to do so

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s her right for sure, but it’s also a display of supercilious pettiness.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You’re probably right, however I simply don’t get the howls of outrage at her choice. I can’t imagine if she’d refused to work with a Saudi publisher due to their actions in Yemen there would have been anywhere near as many people attacking her for it

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I simply don’t see the analogy there.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
2 years ago

I admit to some puzzlement. Why the Hebrew version? Why not The English language version? That would really hit home.

Ben Richards
Ben Richards
2 years ago

Rooney has written another novel about comfortable young westerner’s overthinking their love-lives.” Ouch. I agree Rooney is an overrated writer, I don’t share her politics, I do believe it is completely her business where she decides to publish her book though. And it gives publicity to BDS which – sadly in my opinion – will expand its appeal to the kind of people who read Sally Rooney novels and perceive her as high status.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago

Looking at the discussion, notice how Jewish racial supremacists and their supporters are as intolerant as any of the woke lefties. Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism of Israel consisted of saying that IF Britain discovered any human rights violations, it would stop selling arms. Israel IS a human rights violation. Corbyn’s criticism is too mild, but was called a form of racism – in effect, the Labour party gave special rights to the Jewish state, where even milquetoast criticism, proposing that MAYBE arms sales would be cut off, is hysterically denounced. This hysteria is echoed in the comments, many times. It’s not really paranoia, it’s an effective strategy – just like the activists shouting “racism” in universities and beyond. It takes courage to stand up to it.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rod McLaughlin
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

I read of arms sales to Israel, but the many sites I looked at merely used licences for reference. Licences are required for a number of technical tings we don’t want falling into enemies’ hands which aren’twhat one normally imagines to be arms, so I persiited, but the only thing I could found was chaff and flare dispensers.
As it happens:
(a) Israel is capable of making a lot of things without help
(b) others supply arms to Israel, especially our important ally, the USA.
By the way, they are surrounded by enemies who have no difficulty in obtaining arms, and absolutely no inhibition in using them. I prefer the Israelis.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
2 years ago

How bizarre. Last Sally Rooney article in Unherd said “Sally Rooney needs to be famous”. A few weeks later Unherd is asking “What does she think her decision will achieve?” The first headline answers the question posed in the second.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago

Well, it turns out that this obscure boycott by this obscure author has had some effect after all. I’d never heard of her before this story. It’s the same with Lorde, and other artists who put conscience before shekels.
These tiny boycotts of Israel have no effect on the economy of the Jewish ethnostate. But the reaction of Zionists to the slightest mild criticism of their racism shows them up as the totalitarian hatemongers they are.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rod McLaughlin
William MacDougall
William MacDougall
2 years ago

You’re right that sanctions rarely do any good; South Africa was a rare example, and they only worked there because of widespread support combined with a South African wish to be accepted. So I oppose BDS. And her boycott is especially misguided, though note we too have banned books, for example from Argentina for a period. But her action is a sign of the increasing risk of Israel being seen as a pariah state if it continues its present policies in the land conquered in 1967…

Frank Freeman
Frank Freeman
2 years ago

I find it interesting how many of the comments consider any attempt to speak out for the Palestinians as “antisemitic”. I imagine the same “herd” would have been defending apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

Any boycott of Zionist occupied Palestine is very welcome: empty, hollow, misguided or otherwise. The article like so many in Unherd is so one-sided, twisted and thin of the most important facts that it is hardly worth reading. And of course it has the usual claltrap of accusing us anti-Zionists with being anti semitic! Yawn! I have nothing whatsoever against Jews or Judaism per se! My favourite guy ever was a Jew: Jesus of Nazareth.. so di NOT accuse me of anti semitism! But when a regime of whatever quasi religion (most Zionists are non practicing) engages in war crimes on a daily basis that fact must be condemned by all right thinking people! The murder and torture of children: theft of land: destruction of homes, hospitals and schools: all these things are henious crimes against humanity. Who could possibly support such suck, evil regime? Hoe deludeddo you have to be?
Am I exaggerating? Ask some world renowned Jews: Gabor Maté, Naom Chomsky to mention just two. I can understand why the US supports the Zionists as they ard no better having murdered millions of innocent civilians in Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan.. I expect no botter from the great Satan himself. But why oh why do decent British and Irish people support these wicked, evil fascists? It is veyond me.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Rooney is making an entirely moral political point about the state of Israel. Quite simple really, and easy to understand. It is her right to express her political views via lawful acts such as directing her creative work wherever she chooses.
Each of us does what we can to make the world a better place, according to where we find ourselves and the possibilities open to us.
The hate-filled pile-on of destructive character assassination comprising the comments on this page is abhorrent, but entirely predictable.
I am still waiting for Unherd to clean up its act and try for a comments section worth reading, like other publications, of both left and right, manage to achieve.
This is not Facebook, but the comments here read like it. Pure poison designed to destroy a person. Not one word of thoughtful discussion about the issue on which the author focusses. The image I get is of a pack of savages wielding knives out to kill their hapless victim—Let’s all kill Sally Rooney! She’s so horrible in every single way you can ever think of, she deserves to be dead. Come on! Let’s kill her! Kill! Kill!
Shame on the lot of you! Shame! As a commentariat, you are a disgrace to civilised discussion. You get 0/10. You belong on the stage of Lord of the Flies, not in a civilised liberal democracy.

aaron david
aaron david
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Huh, I always felt Unherds comment section was quite good. People speaking their thoughts from many viewpoints, not a “cleaned up” rehash of talking points.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  aaron david

We shall have to disagree. My take on the Unherd commentariat is that it is largely composed of people shouting and screaming their raw, unscrutinised emotions, trying to force them willy nilly upon other readers, but definitely not “speaking their thoughts” in a cool, quiet, dispassionate space, as you propose.
This is serious stuff, since if I am right, Unherd is wittingly or unwittingly promoting the very instinct-driven tribal racist mob violence which saw the advent of Nazism with its endpoint in the Holocaust.
The key to this stuff is precisely that it is driven by raw emotion, that its views are not amenable to change via rational discussion, that it targets the person rather than the issue, and thrives on abuse. This stuff, properly speaking, is pre-political: it is still tribal, in that it emanates from a group-soul, the tribal soul which ruled prior to the individuation inaugurated by Abraham. It thus stands prior to the development of the concept of the citizen, carried out by Greece and Rome, upon which our whole modern political system depends.
No one wants a “cleaned-up rehash of talking points”, as you put it, but neither, surely, can anyone claim it’s okay to say whatever you want, anywhere at any time, regardless of context, in the name of so-called free speech? Speech can kill, just as surely as swords. Speech misused is a diabolical evil.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

To be fair, I don’t think that UnHerd comments are always and everywhere “largely composed of people shouting and screaming their raw, unscrutinised emotions” as you put it. No, I think it’s only when we get onto the topic of Israel that we are not permitted to have opinions which differ in any degree from those of the Israeli/Jewish thought police, for whom any promotion of the Palestinian Arabs and any thought that Israel treats Arabs badly is automatically to be condemned. Only then do we see the monster unleashed, as we do in this series of comments.

Alan B
Alan B
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

So, if I have this right, in your circles the way to avoid a charge of character assassination is to accuse your interlocutor of being a (witless proto-) Nazi?

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Let’s all kill Sally Rooney! She’s so horrible in every single way you can ever think of, she deserves to be dead. Come on! Let’s kill her! Kill! Kill!

you are the only person on this comment thread to threaten Sally Rooney with death.
This comment thread and article are in reference to Salley Rooney thinly disguised anti semitism, what you have written Penelope is a projection and bares no relation to anything on here.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

you are the only person on this comment thread to threaten Sally Rooney with death.
How dare you misquote me! My comment that you reproduce was put in italics to indicate it was a loose paraphrase of my impression of readers’ comments on this page. Not my views!!!
This comment thread and article are in reference to Salley Rooney thinly disguised anti semitism,
I disagree totally with your take on this article. The article in no way accuses Ms Rooney of antisemitism. It is only commenters such as yourself who read into it things that are not there.
To understand the article, you have to understand to begin with that a distinction must be drawn between antisemitism—hatred of Jews, and criticism of the democratic deficit of the Israeli state. The first is racism; the second is legitimate political commentary. The article raises questions within the framework of legitimate political commentary about the efficacy of Rooney’s activism. Nothing more.
Please, ask yourself what led you to misrepresent me and the author of the article so blatantly and untruthfully. Whose barrow are you trying to push?

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

There are distinctions to be made between political commentary, commercial boycotts, and cultural boycotts.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Please expand on this. I would like to know more.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Sure, I will try to explain myself a bit better. Basically, I was saying that these are different methods and the impacts are different. Political commentary is just speech (excluding incitements to violence, etc). It usually seeks to create change in opinion/policy through intellectual persuasion, appeals to sentiment, etc. Commercial boycotts, like economic sanctions, seek to create change through financial pressures. Cultural boycotts are quite rare. Iran – a country subject to very harsh economic sanctions – has had some (very excellent, I think) films entered in international film competitions, for example. I think very few people would support a cultural boycott of Iran. Most arguments in favour of cultural boycotts are that they can create political change through cultural delegitimisation. The goal being that the target of the boycott is rendered abnormal and stigmatised. There are many counterarguments to cultural boycotts, such as they cut off communities from dissenting views, they create a siege mentality that is counterproductive (i.e. rally people against outsiders), they harm the very people they claim to help (this argument is also made for economic boycotts), etc. For this reason, many African American artists (Tina Turner, for instance) refused to boycott South Africa during Apartheid. They believed that it would do more harm than good. The same general idea prevails in Olympic sports.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Thankyou very much for your response. That helped a lot.
On the basis of your explanation, I would only be able to support political boycotts.
You play down the value of political speech, hence political sanctions, in comparison to economic or cultural measures.
I can understand that economic sanctions bite harder and more immediately. And even that cultural sanctions may hurt more immediately on a material level than political speech.
Nevertheless, it was sanctions on the political level that ultimately proved effective in marshalling world opinion against South Africa and many other dubious regimes.
I feel quite comfortable in politically condemning the current Israeli regime and endorsing whatever sanctions may be brought to bear to constrain its abusive controls over the Palestinian people.
This political condemnation would encompass by extension all alignments with the sanctioned political position in any sphere of Israeli society.
But I could not in all conscience sanction Israeli cultural activities per se. Nor could I sanction Israeli economic activities per se.
Neither economics nor culture is the prime culprit here.
The culprit is abuse of the human rights of our fellow human beings. This is a moral/ethical issue. As such, this issue falls firmly within the political sphere insofar as it is that sphere which has to create and interpret law in the common societal interest.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

These are difficult questions with no easy answers, I think. Our assessments of Israel/Palestine are very different, I can see, but I find it worth doing the thought experiment with other countries to interrogate my own position for consistency. My baseline is against boycotts, except very targeted government sanctions (even if these rarely seem to work). As much as I loathe the government of North Korea and don’t want them to get their hands on advanced technology, I don’t want ordinary North Koreans to suffer hunger or lack of medicine because of their government. I have similar contempt for the government of Cuba, but I would not seek to ban the Cuban National Ballet.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Yes, thankyou, it is a hugely complex issue.
I think we do not disagree, so much as share a frustration—at finding some real solutions.
I too share a reticence about sanctioning things. I too share an understanding that we must always distinguish between a people—race, ethnicity—and their politics.
But on the ground, it is just so difficult.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

I dare. no one anywhere on this thread has threathened Sally Rooney with violence, until you said:

Lets all kill Sally Rooney! She’s so horrible in every single way you can ever think of, she deserves to be dead. Come on! Let’s kill her! Kill! Kill!

so you havent derived that from anything written here, its purely your own projection. And as yo say:

Speech can kill, just as surely as swords. Speech misused is a diabolical evil.

You state , speech can kill, your speech threatens to kill Sally Rooney , by your own logic you are diabolically evil.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

This is a ridiculous personification of a comment that bends over backwards to be fair, reasonable and rational. You have been shown up to be a fully-paid-up member of the Jewish/Israeli thought police, who monitor every written word for anything which you conceive might be minutely negative about Israel and then attempt to assassinate the writer. .

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Giles you have exposed me, my membership number is ZIO-123, now Mosad will need to provide me with a new cover. Oh well back to Jewish thought police academy for me, hopefully i’ll be trained well enough to hoodwink you next time, or just mind zapp you with my Jewish Thought police powers. ZAPP ZAPP, did it work? have i turned you away from antisemitism?

Last edited 2 years ago by George Glashan
Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Treat Palestinian Arabs like human beings. Once you do that, then we’ll be nice to you.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Damn your tin foil hat is just too strong for my Jewish Thought Police powers to penetrate.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

We know whose barrow he is trying to push. See my comment below.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

are you and penelope the same antisemitic troll? Are you having a conversation with yourself?

Last edited 2 years ago by George Glashan
Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Treat Palestinian Arabs like human beings. Once you do that, then we’ll be nice to you.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Where have the Israelis promised to wipe the ‘ Palestinian’ people off the face of the Earth ? Or does that not count on your planet Giles ?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

What is said in public merely reflects the different cultural biases.
It is definitely Muslim-Arab cultural identity to speak of “wiping people from the face of the earth”. Facts show them to fall short in this goal.
Equally, it is Jewish cultural identity to pretend a multiculturalism they do not practice on the ground.Facts show them, also, not to be practising what they preach.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Many of the comments are not even concerned with the question of Rooney’s possible motives, just the wrongheadedness of her decision. Her very muddled press release didn’t offer much illumination about her motives either. As a general rule, I am against cultural boycotts and BDS (which I do consider antisemitic) but I am not prepared to call Rooney an antisemite based on her statements. I will, however, call her decision idiotic. With that said, I have many books in my library written by actual Nazis (Carl Schmitt, Knut Hamsun) and antisemites (T.S. Eliot). Those books, unlike Rooney’s, are all worth reading.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

The state of Israel? Is it in a very shaky state? If one keeps on referring to the “state of Belgium”, one would be inclined to believe it is not a proper or viable country.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

Do I have to state the obvious? Belgium is not a state founded in race, as is the case with Israel. Belgium is the opposite: it is multiracial, multiethnic.
We only speak of the “state” of Israel because we have to make clear that our criticisms are political, of the state, not racist, of the people.
This means, that if Israel had taken a different course and encouraged a modern multiculturalism, with government to match, no one would have to be making a distinction between the Israeli state and the Jewish people. Jews in Israel would then have chosen to identify themselves officially with modernity and universal humanity.
But there’s nothing special here, except that the shadow of the Holocaust still haunts the Jewish people. There are still real Nazis out there planning extermination and destruction. So modern Jews have to be especially careful in determining who are their friends, who their enemies.
Apart from that factor, however, there are plenty of modern multicultural Jews and Arabs in Israel. Except they are in the minority for now, so they cannot exercise full political power. In that, they are no different to those of us English who, being in a minority, oppose our current political regime without success.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

You know, Israel is the only country where Jews can breathe freely. They are in charge. For hundreds, even thousands of years, they, the Jewish people, had not been in control of any territory. Israelis call their country, home. Jews call their country, Israel, home. Everybody loves the idea of a permanent dwelling. A rock, a safe harbour. But the more outsiders refer to the impermanence of Israel by way of boiling it down to a mere political entity, such as when “the state of Israel” is almost reflexively used, the more that undermining goes against the grain of the idea of Israel as a home, a place of safety. “The state of Israel” could well be as insensitive or inconsiderate a term as the “Irish Free State” is to the modern (and even old-fashioned or traditional) Irish.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago

The heart of the matter, though not the subject of the article. It is good that Jewish people, after thousands of years, have found a home, “a rock a safe harbour” in Israel. I wish them well. The government of Israel should of course act to keep them safe. It should also recognise that Israel is and has been the home of Palestinians who would also like a rock, a safe harbour. It should not let the anger and retaliations of some Palestinians be an excuse for not helping all of them find their home. I anticipate this will be voted down and would like to know why.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

Is there any other “people” whom you “wish well”? “People” is a euphemism for “race”. No other Western country is based on it.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

People is a collective term for human beings in a particular context. That context might be race but not necessarily so as in people on the dole. I do not regard Israel as based on race – it is a geographic territory with a mixed population and a government responsible for that entire population. In general I wish all human beings well and therefore all people. There are some contexts in which people might be grouped that that does not apply to but it applies to all groupings based on race.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

This is the key confusion:
Are we speaking of the physical geography of the boundaries of a modern nation-state on the ground, or
Are we speaking of the racial roots of a people, or
Are we speaking of modern ethno-religious conflicts?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

Amazingly, you have not been voted down. Congratulations!
We share a concern that Jews finding a secure home in Israel should not mean Arabs are thereby dispossessed. It is not either/or. It can be both/and.
But that requires goodwill, on both sides. And that has been sorely lacking.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

What a very worthwhile reply to my comment. Thankyou!
I can hear where you are coming from. And I empathise. You are speaking of never feeling safe. Of needing a rock on which to anchor yourself. Of not wanting to be cast hither and thither on the tides of world opinion at any given time.
So you need to be able to rely upon the security of Israel as your home.
I back that, absolutely.
But then you do need to extend yourself, your identity, to include the Palestinians who have also called that same territory, your territory, their home. They feel every bit as much as you do about this issue.
What are you going to do about their dreadful situation?

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

“Pure poison designed to destroy a person.”
I have been called a “Nazi” by both Antifa and by Zionists. They have a lot in common.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rod McLaughlin
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Yup. Me too.

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Actually, the commenters at Unherd are some of the most civilized around, but I do say that as someone who spends a certain amount of time on Twitter, so I’m aware that “everything is relative.” I don’t think the discussion here rises (or lowers itself, more appropriately) to the level described by your hand wringing.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Dawn McD

Okay, legitimate response, we agree to disagree on this point. I find them terrifyingly awful. Thankyou anyway!

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

One thing I think UnHerd could get rid of is downvoting. It’s almost as moronic as putting a laughing face meaning “I’m laughing at your argument” – a substitute for arguing back. Downvoting belongs to Reddit, not this paragon of high-level intellectual debate.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

I refuse to be bullied by the Jewish/ Israeli PR machine. Sally Rooney has made a bold statement about the way that Israel treats the Palestinian Arabs. She’s entirely right. This must change.

Geoffrey Wilson
Geoffrey Wilson
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I would be very interested to know why Mr Chance describes Ms Rooney’s statement as “bold”. It seems to me she is simply saying what all her friends say. The article argues cogently that her statement is not Liberal, Enlightened, or actually undermining Israel.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

“I refuse to be bullied by the Jewish/ Israeli PR machine.”
Jeez, another narcissistic, self-styled social justice warrior, casting himself as victim.

Last edited 2 years ago by Eddie Johnson
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Eddie Johnson

Personal abuse, instead of reasoned discussion, is not acceptable. Please apologise to Mr Chance, who was making a perfectly reasonable point.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

LOL! Nice one.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

You’re not even a very good troll Penny.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I offer my wholehearted support to your stance.
The Jewish/Israeli PR machine is an unfortunate reality. It is officially only political/Israeli, but underneath, it is fuelled and promoted by violent extremist, terrifyingly racist, ultra-Orthodox Jewish rightwingers who openly desire annihilation of the Palestinians. They have coopted whatever legitimate concerns may have underlaid the creation of the original Jewish state—the need for an extra level of protection in the aftermath of the nightmares of the Holocaust. The new Israeli rightwing have become grinning racist replicas of their own Nazi oppressors. They are stealing Palestinian land and property and inflicting daily humiliation and abuse on this subject population, whom they have deprived of basic human rights. The new Israeli rightwing is Jewish extremist, and it has sold out its own people. The ultimate irony.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that in the midst of this disastrous situation, there are also multitudes of modern tolerant, multiracial, multicultural Jews and Arabs, who find themselves in a similar position to those of us modern multiracial multicultural English, who sweat beneath an oppressive world-beating government which seeks nothing less than world domination and subjugation of its own people..

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

wait a minute, oooohh Jeremy Corbyn !? is that you?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Well actually, no, sorry to disappoint you.
My opinion regarding the Palestinian/Israeli political conflict, and the Arab/Jewish religious/ethnic/cultural clash, were formed entirely outside of domestic English politics.
I am aware of Corbyn and his views on a general level, from reading up as an outsider. Nothing more.
This means that you now need to go back to my comment and ask yourself how such views as mine could come from other entirely non-Corbynite sources. And hence, what validity they may have in regard to the actual issues live right now.
For your information, I am British born, but hold dual British-Australian citizenship, and I have gown up mostly outside the UK. This means my views are those of an outsider, looking in on your evolving domestic problems. I share with hosts of other outsiders the view that the English have lost the ability to stand back and view themselves from the outside.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

The new Israeli rightwing have become grinning racist replicas of their own Nazi oppressors.

just pulling this out for everyone to see what a blatant Anti-Semite you are

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Treat Palestinian Arabs like human beings. Once you do that, then we’ll be nice to you.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

No, George Glashan, sorry, but your highlight does not demonstrate what you claim.
It is not anti-Semitic to point out that some extremist rightwing Israeli settler Jews have become virulent racists.
Globally speaking, there is actually nothing out of the ordinary here.
We have forensically identified, factually established, virulent racist minorities in all sorts of different ethnic communities now. We have French racists (Marine Le Pen); German racists (Alternativ fur Deutschland, or AFD); English racists (various modern neo-Nazi groups plus Boris Johnson and Priti Patel); Scandinavian white supremacist racists (think the Norway shootings and their aftermath); a variety of Middle Eastern ethnic racists (think all regimes based in rulership by hereditary bloodlines, especially the Arab states); then there are the Sri Lankan Hinayana Buddhist racists, the Indian Hindu racists (Mohendra Nadi), the Chinese ethnic Han racists, the racists of the Pacific hereditary bloodline rulerships—and so the list goes on.
Every culture has a racist minority; modern Jewish culture is no more exempt than the perfidious anglos. We are all covered in blood.
So please, George Glashan, relax, and understand that you are among friends. Racism must be overcome. We all agree. But I am not going to pretend that the Jews are sole exceptions on the planet to this process, because they may not be criticised, because they underwent the Holocaust. Jews are not perfect people. So, they may be ciriticised, on an equal impartial objective basis to the way everyone else on the planet may be criticised.
Seen in a proper light, my stance is an acknowledgement of our human equality, yours and mine; it is definitively not anti-Semitism.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

Thank you

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago

Why not “…boycott Russia, Saudi, China and any other countries whose human rights records bear similar challenge” ?
Israel is a Western country, supported to the hilt by all the other Western countries. Like Rhodesia and South Africa, it is an apartheid state, based on explicit racial supremacy. Unlike Rhodesia and South Africa, it is Jewish. Somehow, that gives it special rights.
As for Rooney’s gesture not achieving anything, well maybe not, but it means she’s not making a small amount of money out of apartheid.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

What complete and utter unadulterated cobblers. If Israel were an apartheid state based on racial supremacy it would categorically not allow Arab-Israelis into the Knesset or into the medical profession, to name just two professions. You simply do not know what you’re talking about.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

Or to score against Scotland the other day

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

Sorry, Aidan Trimble, it is you who are in ignorance on this particular issue.
The racial group is the Semites. Both Arabs and Jews are Semites. They are of the same race. Divisions between Arabs and Jews belong to an intra-racial, religious/ethnic division.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

You’re right. Israel is an apartheid state, but it has managed to persuade much of the developed world, especially the United States, that it’s a normal country in which everyone is treated the same. You only have to go to Israel to find out that this is not the case, and that Palestinian Arabs (also Semites, note) are treated as though they had limited or no rights. It’s shameful. I congratulate Sally Rooney for making a bold statement which I hope will draw attention to this glaring abuse of human rights.

Last edited 2 years ago by Giles Chance
peterkettle
peterkettle
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

The emotional and intellectual immaturity of Rooney is part of a more general social malaise in Social Media; she is a typical entitled, self-righteous preacher, and dogma appeals to her because it virtue signals to all those little scared rabbits who cannot see beyond their burrows. Has she spent time in Israel? Where do the more open minded Palestinians choose to work, seek medical treatment and a good education? Israel of course. Nothing is more intolerant than the committed Left.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  peterkettle

Sorry, this is a nonsense comment.
To propose that Palestinians who seek medical treatment and education via Israeli provision do this because they are “open-minded”, is preposterous.
We all seek help where we can get it. If our own culture deprives us, for good or bad reasons, we look elsewhere. So American Texans seek abortion in other liberal states. Irish seek employment in Britain. Palestinian Arabs seek help from Israeli provision.
This says precisely nothing about the moral or political status of Texas, the UK, or Israel. One could equally argue it shows them to be depraved usurpers, as that it demonstrates they are superior cultural providers.
Surely to god it is clear: if someone steals everything from you, and then deigns to drop you a morsel in compensation, the key point is that they are thieves.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

I’m not entirely sure why people are downvoting you about this. There can be little doubt that Israel is an ethno-state, with a legal system that differentiates between citizens based on their ethnic standing. Calling this ‘apartheid’ is really not a stretch.
Whether the particular circumstances justify this legal position is another question. But to downvote the comment on this basis reeks of entrenched political bias.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

“I’m not entirely sure why people are downvoting you about this”.
Yes, it’s remarkable how people who are resistant to the ‘anti-racist’ nonsense of the woke left are taken in by the strategy of screaming ‘antisemitism’ at anything that moves against the Lobby. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone except me noticing this. Partly, there’s the problem that “Palestine solidarity” itself is dominated by the woke left. When I slag off Israel online, people responding often assume I’m a woke leftist myself. But in fact, I reject fake claims of ‘racism’ and ‘antisemitism’ (a type of racism) equally. Both are lies, and both are against my interests, including my ethnic interests.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

If Israel were an apartheid state based on racial supremacy it would categorically not allow Arab-Israelis into the Knesset”
Fair point. It’s a bit more subtle than I said. Israel guarantees a Jewish majority by excluding most of the ethnically-cleansed and their descendants. It’s not quite the same as apartheid, but, unlike any other Western country, it has an explicitly racialist constitution.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Well meant, and I support you for that, but factually not quite accurate enough. See my other responses to you and others here.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

I’m not at all surprised at the reactions of the majority of UnHerd readers. It would be the same at Spiked, and to a lesser extent, at Areo and Quillette. It’s remarkable how people who are resistant to the ‘anti-racist’ nonsense of the woke left are completely taken in by the similar strategy of screaming ‘antisemitism’ at anything that moves against the Lobby.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Thankyou, Rod McLaughlin, for your perceptive comments.
You raise a major issue: that of alleged Israeli racism.
The Israeli state is undeniably racist, in that it is constituted on the basis of the Jewish Semitic race. That is primary, first-degree racism.
This underlying primary racism is ameliorated to some degree by secondary considerations, legally enshrined to some degree, aimed at diluting the racist bias of that nation-state, to focus it on reaching some degree of multicultural, cosmopolitan accommodation to the modern world.
So let’s take a broader view for a moment.
Racially speaking, the broad division is that of the Semites (biblical people of the progenitor Shem). Within that broad racial group, we have the Jews and the Arabs. Both are racially Semites, but they are different ethnically and religiously from each other.
So we have a later, more superficial intra-racial division among the Semites. This can be shown to derive from the advent of Islam. The Jews had their own religious directives from Jehovah, their own special mission, which caused them to separate themselves from their other Semitic brothers and sisters. The Semites who were not Jews became, over time, Muslims. Thence arose the great religious division we see today.
So if Israel is actually a racist state, it should acknowledge all Arabs as racial brothers and sisters, as Semitic brethren. But it doesn’t.
If Israel is not actually a racist state, but a state operating on later, intra-racial religious dividing lines, then it needs to lay out a doctrine explaining why Palestinian and Israeli Muslim Arabs are less human than Hebrew Jews. The dividing lines here are religious: Hebrew-Muslim, and ethnic: Jewish-Arab.
Only when everybody has enough honesty to discuss things in actual terms of facts on the ground can we hope to progress.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

It’s a step, a small one, to combat the mighty Israeli/Jewish PR campaign against the Palestinian Arabs. I welcome it.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

If my above comment gains a large number of negative votes (presumably from people who deplore its anti-Israeli nature), I shall be satisfied because that will demonstrate its truth. I’m glad to see that it has started well.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

If your comment gets sufficiently large number of negative votes Momentum will demand that you are automatically made leader of the Labour Party

Last edited 2 years ago by George Glashan
Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Making good progress.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

You’re making excellent progress in your quest to be rightly regarded as blatantly anti -Semitic. Bravo comrade.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

Arabs are Semites, as much as Jewish people.

Rod McLaughlin
Rod McLaughlin
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

Notice how Jewish supremacists and their supporters use the same kind of hysterical language as BLM and the trans activists. Describing explicit, violent racial oppression carried out by Jews as racist, is itself called a type of ‘racism’. There’s a word in Yiddish…

Last edited 2 years ago by Rod McLaughlin
Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

At least you’re more open about your anti-semitic paranoia than Rooney. That’s refreshing. Most still disguise it in pseudo-socialist gibberish with words like ‘anti-imperialism’.

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

Its not anti-semitic paranoia. It’s pro-Palestinian Arab sentiment. The author is entirely right to make her well-publicised point about the treatment of the Palestinian Arabs by Israel. It’s a disgrace, and she is to be praised for drawing popular attention to it. When will Israeli listen to the widespread public opinion which deplore its behaviour in Gaza, and correct its ways ?

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

the mighty Israeli/Jewish PR campaign against the Palestinian Arabs” – that, sir, is paranoia.

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Where is this widespread opinion of which you speak?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

So then Mr Chance you would be happy to move to Israel, and that they then disarm and open their arms to the Arabs ??? If not then you are dishonest, if so then you occupy a particularly dense part of la la land in which Arabs really do want happy peace with Jews – which is it to be ?????? If you shy away from answering then it is probably time you changed your news platform…..

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

This is war-mongering nonsense, Chris Sullivan.
You confuse a current military situation with discussion about the rights and wrongs.
Noone in their right mind thinks for a moment that certain Arabs want peace. Not do they think certain Jews want peace.
Please don’t confuse and conflate the exigencies of a current desperate situation with legitimate political discussion regarding possible solutions to Arab-Israeli conflict.