top of page

Tensions Rise Within Society of Authors Over Controversial Gaza Motion.

The Society of Authors (SoA), the UK's oldest literary trade union with a membership of 12,000, is currently embroiled in controversy after a proposed motion concerning Gaza sparked significant backlash from its Jewish members. The contentious motion, which fails to mention Hamas, the hostages, or the recent violence against Israelis, focuses instead on the Palestinian casualties and parrots claims about deceased journalists. It calls for the SoA to demand an "immediate and permanent ceasefire."

An infographic shared on "X" to encourage SoA members to vote through the resolution (Source: "X")
An infographic shared on "X" to encourage SoA members to vote through the resolution (Source: "X")

This development has led to fears among Jewish writers within the SoA, who are concerned that the motion's passage could lead to broader boycotts against "Zionists," a term some members argue is being used as a proxy for Jewish individuals. Victoria Selman, a noted thriller writer, expressed her discomfort, suggesting that the agenda mirrors a broader, stealth campaign against Jewish authors in British publishing.

Hilary Freeman and other worried authors voiced concerns about potential professional repercussions, such as boycotts or contract non-renewals, should the motion pass. Freeman emphasized the SoA's primary role as a support network for British authors, stating that its involvement in Middle East politics would be out of scope and could alienate members.

In response to the controversy, more than 600 SoA members have registered to attend an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) scheduled for May 2, where the resolution will be put to vote. The SoA's committee has recommended a 'no' vote on the motion, underscoring that the union's value lies in its member services such as contract vetting, lobbying, and awarding grants, rather than geopolitical advocacy.

Nicola Solomon, the outgoing Chief Executive of the SoA, reaffirmed the committee's stance, emphasizing the importance of focusing on the organization's core responsibilities and encouraging members to oppose the motion for the sake of unity and the SoA's foundational goals. The debate within the SoA highlights the challenges organizations face when navigating the complexities of international political issues within professional communities.

15 views0 comments
bottom of page