This concerned Iain Banks – famous for being an author or something – who has defined Israel as being outwith the human family, and called for a cultural boycott: presumably this goes beyond that criticism he levies at other sovereign states such as China or Sudan or Russia or Sri Lanka; all of which, as Garrard observes, have killed more of their citizens than the Israeli state has killed Arabs and in a much shorter periods of time.
Banks, whose greatest dilemma of late has been whether to work or play computer games, has instructed his publishers not to accept translation deals with Israeli publishers.
This he states is potentially a vapid request: a wise precaution as it would entail too much effort on his part to determine if his principal publishers (Orbit Books and Little, Brown Books) hold other contracts with Israeli writers or arrange the translation of their fully human authors’ work for distribution in Israel, or even if his own books are sold in English-language form there.
But, seen from another angle,this is a potentially highly significant request which Banks appears too modest (or self-righteously thick) to consider. Translation deals from Israeli publishers are to be assumed to be for Hebrew (or, at a pinch, Yiddish; Russian or Arabic speakers have other avenues).
Thus, unless I am very much mistaken, Banks considers speakers of a language historically and factually associated with Jews to be (currently, at least) beyond the political pale. Of course, refusing to have one’s works translated into any named language is, at the very least, the hallmark of a knitwit.
So, will Banks consider this, or push for a meaningful boycott (i.e. one which would require onerous actions on his part) by demanding his agents or publishers have nothing to do in toto with Israeli distribution? Or is he, and I personally think this is far more likely, a callow and pampered luvvie who, like an overgrown child (or wealthy person) does not think he should face the consequences of his actions?
‘Artists’ and faux bellwethers of the litterarti receive all they are owed by our purchasing their material. This is not the 19th Century, when William Wadsworth Longfellow besotted Queen Victoria’s household (who had, presumably, seen all the great names the world had to offer). I can pick up a DVD from the petrol station, or a book from Tescos, or turn on the radio and television at any time of the day and get my cultural fix. None of us are beholden to some self-appointed moral guardian who has not fought for a single moment of his comfort.
Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off Iain Banks.