Norway’s perceptions of Israel were not built in a day. Many intellingent and hardworking people have been burning the midnight oil for a good, long while. One of them is Nils Butenschøn, a Middle East expert whom the press often call upon for commentary and analysis. You can read about his younger years here.
The text below is an unauthorized translation of Tarjei Johannessen Vågstøl’s master’s thesis on the Norwegian Palestine-movement, page 62-63. The contents of this thesis speaks for themselves. For the entire thesis, go here. The text below deals with how two Norwegian pro-Palestine organizations – Palfront and Palcom – organize their work in the late seventies.
Through these contacts Palfront was from 1978 pulled into work intended to aid the PLO in developing contacts with Palestinians and anti-zionist jews in Israel. To achieve the first mentioned, it was decided to continue the fundraising campaign from 1976, but now with the goal of supporting a community centre in the village Deir-al Assad in Gallilea (in Israel). Similar campaigns were arranged in Sweden and in Denmark, and the money was channelled through a newly founded “Nordic committee for Palestinian education and culture”. The most important function of the committee was however to hide from the Israeli authorities that the principal component of the funds came from the PLO. A similar project was undertaken to establish contact between PLO and the group Black Panthers (BP) in Israel. Under the direction of Sosialistisk Opplysningsforbund (Socialist Enlightenment Association) the BP were invited to a conference in Oslo in April 1978 on the situation for the oriental jews. The real purpose of the visit was for them to meet with the PLO in Nils Butenschøn’s home in Enebakk. Berge Furre was even present in order to provide political leverage, but the meeting was an outright failure.
These projects appeared to concern other than the leadership only to a small degree, but they took up a lot of Nils Butenschøn’s time these years. It also appears that the leadership struggled with making the activists accept that these were politically important projects, and in Palestina-nytt (Palestine-news) there was a long series of articles on anti-zionist jews.
Medlemsblad, “Referat fra Palestinafrontens andre landsmøte, 21-22/1-78″ (Member Magazine, minutes from tre Palestinefront’s second national meeting)
Nils Butenschøn, November 28th 2006. Butenschøn tells of an intricate system which involved suitcases filled with thousand-kroner notes, all so the money could not be traced to the PLO. Of course Israel suspected that the money came from the PLO, but could not prove anything.
Nils Butenschøn, November 28th 2006. There were several reasons for this. For the first the BP were convinced that it had been revealed that PLO had paid for their tickets, and due to an internal power struggle it was the Stockholm representative Daoud Kaloti who showed up, and not the somewhat more important Paris-representative.