Anti-Israel posters based on Sally Rooney book cover to be removed

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Transport for London has confirmed that the posters were not authorised adverts and that it is working to remove them 'immediately'
Transport for London has confirmed that the posters were not authorised adverts and that it is working to remove them 'immediately'

A Sally Rooney book cover that has been used to promote the boycott of Israel on London bus stops has been called “vandalism” by Transport for London.

The posters, which featured a doctored cover of the author’s second novel, featured the words “Normal People Boycott Israel”.

TfL said that these were not authorised adverts and that it was working to remove them “immediately”.

The posters appeared to be placed behind the glass panels on the bus stop, with some people on social media suspecting that these had been sanctioned by TfL.

Lord Wolfson, a justice minister, wrote on Twitter: “Would you please clarify - was this ‘advertisement’ originally approved by TfL, but now is under investigation? Or was it put up without any TfL input or approval?”

The Telegraph identified that one of the posters in Vauxhall, South London, had already been removed, and that it had been repaired with sellotape after being opened.

TfL confirmed to The Telegraph that the posters were not sanctioned by the organisation and it was taking the act “extremely seriously”.

A Transport for London spokesman said: 'It is fly-posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously'
A Transport for London spokesman said: 'It is fly-posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously'

The artist behind the poster is believed to be Protest Stencil, who has placed posters on bus stops before over legitimate advertisements.

They did not respond to a request for comment from The Telegraph.

They wrote on social media: “You can tell a lot about a person from whether their solidarity is with the coloniser or the colonised. Respect to Sally Rooney for her principled stand in support of Palestinians.

“Around the world, Normal People - the colonised, the exploited, the marginalised - have an instinctive solidarity with Palestinians resisting the theft of their homeland.

“Those with a colonial mindset, on the other hand, dismiss Palestinians and other racialised people as inherently lesser, uncultured, incapable of rational political thought.

“All arguments against the Palestinian strategy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) are built on that shaky base, the ‘we know better than you how you should challenge your oppression’.

“The keffiyeh fishnet pattern is a traditional Palestinian solidarity symbol, and also here (in the sardine can from the original Normal People cover) represents the empty nets of Gaza’s fishermen, facing restrictions on where they can fish, and also regular attacks from the occupation’s navy.”

Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said on Twitter: “Normal people defend human rights. Normal people condemn terror. Normal people support peace. Normal people do not support the hate-fuelled terror-funding BDS.”

Controversy over translation of latest book

It comes after the Irish author was embroiled in an anti-Semitism scandal after refusing a request to have her book translated into Hebrew.

Sally Rooney said she wanted to express solidarity with the Palestinian people 'in their struggle or freedom, justice and equality' - Patrick Bolger/Patrick Bolger
Sally Rooney said she wanted to express solidarity with the Palestinian people 'in their struggle or freedom, justice and equality' - Patrick Bolger/Patrick Bolger

She was accused by the Israeli foreign ministry of impeding the peace process in the Middle East in her support for a cultural boycott of the country.

Ms Rooney said that that her reason for not selling translation rights for the book to Modan, an Israeli-based publishing house, was to express solidarity with the Palestinian people “in their struggle or freedom, justice and equality”.

She said the company in question “does not publicly distance itself from apartheid”.

A spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry told The Telegraph last week that Rooney’s decision was “narrow-minded” and impeded peace in the Holy Land.

Ms Rooney was contacted for comment.

A TfL spokesman said: "These adverts are not authorised by TfL or our advertising partner, JCDecaux.

“It is fly-posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”

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