Chomsky replies to Alejandro on "Arab countries' attitudes towards Jews, Israel"
There surely is anti-Semitism in many circles in
It should be added, however, that Western anti-Arab racism is so extreme that it often isn't even concealed, because it isn't noticed; it's like the air we breathe. For example, a western "secular hero" like Irving Howe is highly praised for urging that
As the Middle East (
Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism are always to be exposed and deplored. And understood.
As for your questions, it's impossible to assign a "measure" to the degree to which "anti-semitism in the Arab world [is] a function of Israel's policies," just as it's impossible to assign a measure to the various sources of the rampant anti-Arab racism here and in Israel. We can discuss the factors and seek ways to alleviate them.
Does the support of the leading Arab countries for a peaceful settlement (not for 2 decades, but since 1971) cloak "nefarious intentions like the far-right opines i.e. eventual destruction of Israel?" The question is not really answerable in that form. I don't doubt that many Mexicans hope for the eventual destruction of the US -- which, after all, sits on more than 1/3 of Mexico, which it stole by violence. Same with France and Germany. One would be hard put to find an area of the world where there is no irredentism or jingoist demands and hostilities. Some kind of international order has slowly been constructed by efforts to accommodate these, eliminating the worst festering sores. The US/Israel (near unilateral) rejection of diplomatic settlement since 1971, and their program for establishing a Bantustan-style settlement in Israel-Palestine since Madrid/Oslo, is guaranteed to keep these sores festering, or worse. Recall that, contrary to current self-serving propaganda, these programs are not due to the bad Netanyahu: they are programs of the US and the Labor/Meretz coalition, now being implemented and in some ways extended by Netanyahu/Likud.
"Even if the Arab leaders did genuinely support peace, doesn't the popular anti-semitism and growing fundamentalism undermine the ability of the Arab leaders who want peace?"
I don't think that's the way to pose the question, any more than it would be proper to ask whether the extreme anti-Arab racism in Israel and the growing fundamentalism there "undermines the ability of Jewish leaders who want peace" (if one can find any, where "peace" means something other than a Bantustan-style peace). The way these questions are posed mistakes the dynamics. Moves towards genuine peace would undercut -- to some unknown degree -- the pressures that lead to anti-Semitism and anti-Arab racism, and the growing fundamentalism that is (on the Arab side) in large part a reaction to the complete failure of secular movements to achieve anything, failures for which we bear considerable responsibility.
How can I "blame Israelis for not wanting to perhaps lower their guard (i.e. stabilize or lessen military expenditures, enter into economic and technological relations that could help Arab countries)"? I don't quite understand the question. Israeli leaders are eager to enter into economic and technological relations that could (incidentally) help Arab countries. That's Peres's "New Middle East," the point of the Qatar summit last December, etc. True, Israel doesn't care that much about them, because they are mostly poor and underdeveloped; it's eyes are on trade and interactions with the richer East Asia area. And Israel thinks nothing of providing sensitive military technology to China (over the vociferous objections of the US) which is very likely being used for Iranian missile development. But if you mean that one can understand why Israelis should be concerned about their security, you're pushing an open door. I've been arguing for many years that their policies have been greatly increasing their security risks, and may well lead to their ultimate destruction. To take one simple illustration, not long after Israel rejected Egypt's offer for a full peace treaty in 1971, the first Katyusha rockets began to land, a fact noted in the (Hebrew) documentary literature. Or to take an earlier case, Israel's terror attacks in Gaza in 1955, designed to kill Egyptian authorities who were seeking to cut back Fedayin attacks, surely increased the likelihood of such attacks (again, documented in the Hebrew archival literature). That goes on right to the present, with regard to Palestinians and Lebanese.
On internal Arab government documents, no one is privy to them; these are basically totalitarian countries that do not release documents. As for the Arab languages and cultures (the plural is necessary), one can learn about them the way one could learn about others. The Hebrew government documents, Hebrew press, etc., are available in principle, but they are scarcely used, just as US records are scarcely used, because they tell an ideologically inappropriate story. Simply ask yourself how often (and where) you have seen an account of the extreme US/Israeli rejectionism that barred any diplomatic settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict from 1971 (I've personally been writing about this for over 20 years, but it has yet to reach any source that could be read), or of the quite explicit Bantustan-style character of the Oslo project, or of the most important record of internal Israeli government deliberations in the crucial 1967-77 period (Yossi Beilin's Hebrew dissertation/book, which again, I've written about since it appeared), etc. Or comparable information about the US.
The point is that official censorship, while intolerable, is often not needed to accomplish similar effects; a well-designed doctrinal system and an obedient intellectual class can often suffice, as we should know well enough.