Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Rooney's refusal to work with an Israeli publisher triggered a wave of both anger and praise

Two of Israel's biggest bookstores say they are stopping selling works by Irish author Sally Rooney, after she refused to allow an Israeli publisher translate her new book into Hebrew.

The acclaimed writer said it was in support of calls to boycott Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians.

The move by the bookstores follows a backlash against Rooney's decision.

Her stance triggered a wave of both praise and condemnation, escalating into a war of words on social media.

On Thursday, bookstores Steimatzky and Tzomet Sefarim said they would remove Rooney's books from their branches and online sites. The companies have more than 200 outlets across Israel.

It is the first such action by Israeli booksellers since it emerged last month that Rooney had turned down a bid by Israeli publisher Modan for the rights to translate her book Beautiful World, Where Are You.

She said that while she was "very proud" that her two previous novels had been translated into Hebrew, "for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house".

Rooney said it was out of solidarity with the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for a complete boycott of Israel.

She could not, she said, "accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people".

Apartheid was a policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.

Israel has long claimed BDS opposes the country's very existence and is motivated by anti-Semitism. It vehemently rejects any comparison with apartheid as a smear tactic.

Rooney's decision was denounced by Israel's Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai, calling "the cultural boycott of Israel anti-Semitism in a new guise".

The author said it would still "be an honour" to have Beautiful World, Where Are You translated into Hebrew by a company which shared her political position.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel said Palestinians "warmly welcomed" her move, while others said she had been misrepresented.

Rooney has received several book prizes in the UK, including The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017 and a Costa Book Award in 2018.