Today I received the dust jacket for the Israeli edition of The Shock of the Fall. Here it is:
Pretty cool, huh.
Anyway – I want to share some of my thoughts about my decision to publish in Israel, which was not an easy one. Those of you who know me will know that I am involved (though no longer as actively as I would like, following an unfortunate deportation incident) in the peaceful protest against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. This occupation is illegal under international law, and is – to my mind – clearly and unambiguously immoral.
I have spent time in Palestine and have witnessed at first hand the devastating impact that the Israeli government’s policies have on the lives of Palestinian people – a people who face daily violations of their human rights, who live under the constant threat of imprisonment without trial and of having their homes destroyed.
I do not believe that any amount of history, however fraught or complicated, can ever justify a human rights abuse today. I believe that Israel, beneath the thinnest veneer of international respectability, is perpetrating an apartheid similar to that witnessed in South Africa. And I believe that the UK and the US are on the wrong side of history through our implicit sanctioning of this atrocity, as demonstrated by our various votes and abstentions at the UN.
In short, I believe the Israeli government is a horrible cunt and that we’re not doing enough about this.
So perhaps I should have taken the stance that the late Iain Banks took in supporting a cultural boycott. He refused to be published in Israel and explained his reasoning here. I didn’t take this stance. I have written a story and I want to share it. I want to share it with whoever wants to read it.
I did make a sort of stance though. I have donated my entire fee (as has my agent) from my Israeli advance to ICAHD, a human rights and peace organisation dedicated to ending the prolonged Israeli Occupation over the Palestinians. My Israeli publisher, Keter Books, is sympathetic to my position and agreed to put a prominent line in the book to this effect. This way I get to share my story with Israeli readers whilst at the same time making my beliefs known and helping to raise the profile of this important charity.
So yes, that’s my position and I just wanted to share it. If you are interested in learning more about my time spent in Palestine you can read my blog about it: Getting off the armchair. I recommend ‘Shuhada Street‘ and the ‘Schools Out’ trilogy for a general flavour of our work.