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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Later this month, a romance novel called "The Last Kibbutz" by Sabrina Abreu will be published.

Set in an Israeli kibbutz, the story about a Brazilian woman named Sofia, who decides to work as a volunteer picking apples leaving behind her professional life in São Paulo in search of new loves, friends and experiences.

The author lived on a kibbutz for a year so she knows a bit about the subject.

But she received a letter from an editor at her publishing house, nVersos, demanding that she add criticism of Israel in her novel. The note said, "At first glance, the work is not meant to be political, and therefore does not defend Zionism or Israel. For those who follow the conflict, however, the absence of critical commentary on Israel's actions toward Palestine is obvious. While extolling a way of life that is disappearing - the collectivism of kibbutz - it ends up defending Israel."

Another editor's note suggested that she consult "an expert on the Middle East" to make her book more in line with the publishing house's idea of political correctness. Another note asked her explicitly if she would change the novel.

Abreu says, "They suggested that my approach would be naïve because it does not address the Palestinian issue, something that does not influence people's daily lives there."

The publishing house claims that she agreed to the changes to add an anti-Israel element to the book. However, she changed publishers, and the book is being released by Simonsen.

(h/t Golan Shahar)

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