Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Israel and the Norwegian left

Dagbladet has an interesting article today (in Norwegian), on how the Norwegian leftwing initially held high hopes for Israel, both within the Labour Party and Socialist People's Party (fore-runner of today's SV), based upon an idealistic view on the kibbutzim and pioneer spirit of the young state. When the third-worldist tendencies began to emerge among young radicals, the Socialist People's Party sharply criticized those inside the party who voiced criticism of Israel. Their youth wing (who broke with the party, and became revolutionary Marxists) were rather isolated in the late 1960s/early 1970s in defending the rights of the Palestinians.

The first Palestine solidarity protest took place in 1968, as 12 youths disrupted a meeting with Abba Eban in the parliament. The protestors had trained themselves in shouting their slogans in Hebrew. But support for the legitimate rights for the Palestinians remained a fringe viewpoint in the Norwegian left for another ten years.

But the illusions about Israel crumbled for most leftists in the 1980s, with the images of the Sabra & Shatila massacre and the racist brutalities of the occupying forces during the Intifadah, opening up for a broader solidarity movement.


  1. I think it was more or less the same thing with the swedish leftwing parties, a late awekening in the 70's and 80's.

  2. As a participant in the demontstration mentioned against Abba Eban and Israel(one of 12 youths from SUF)in Oslo in 1968, I would like to add:
    The event took place in "Universitetets Aula", which was the official city hall for special occasions at that time. And the occasion was to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Israel(15th of May)and express solidarity with Israel a short year after the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Except for the King I think all that counts among Norwgian notabilities, Government, Parliament, Chief of Justice etc. were present. We rose up at different places in the hall after Eban had started his speech and unfolded banners with slogans in Norwegian and Hebrew.
    The front pages of Oslo`s daily newspapers the day after were marked by this chocking experience.
    After the Six days` war some months before the victory of Israel was celebrated with a "matinee`" in the National Theatre. A handfull of us stood outside with leaflets against occupation, and experienced to be spat at by the nice people passing by, some of them well-known members of our own mother party, the Socialist People`s Party.
    So there has been some progressive change in opinion,after all..