Several years ago, a non-Jewish acquaintance snarked at me “how can your people be so evil to the “Palestinians?” I wondered how anyone could see reality so dyslexically. It should be obvious to a neutral observer that the Palestinians want to murder Jews. Unfortunately, the majority of people only know what newspapers and the media (information professionals) tell them; and what they tell them is lethally biased against Israel.
In his enlightening and thought-provoking book, "Can the Whole World Be Wrong?", Richard Landes examines the cowardice, incompetence and willful blindness of media outlets and government officials to the goals and actions of radical Islamists that has most of the world hating Israel and loving Palestinian Islamic Jihadis.
Landes starts with Western journalism’s failure to expose the true nature of radical Islamists and their conflict with Israel, Europe, the United States, and moderate Muslims. With a historian's eye for detail, he analyzes the impact of "lethal journalism," a term he uses to describe the deliberate distortion of reality by the majority of journalists. Thus, the information professionals gaslight the public into believing Israel is evil, and Islamic terrorists are gentle warriors protecting the religion of peace.
The author shows that Western civilization is under assault by those whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate. Landes demonstrates how these Islamists view Israel and the United States as their main enemies. To counter their adversaries, Islamists employ "cognitive warfare," which combines terrorist acts with the non-violent promotion of Islam in the West. The book shows that the compliant press, academia, and government officials play a significant role in aiding the Islamists by presenting enemy war propaganda as news while suppressing free speech.
Landes goes beyond the Islamists and explores another group assaulting Western civilization—the Global Progressive Left. He examines the corrosive activities of this group, primarily composed of elites and organizations seeking to reshape global civil society based on progressive values. Despite differing principles, the progressive left allies itself with the Islamists.
Landes emphasizes the importance of the growing attacks on Israel and their impact on Western perception. He starts his book with the reporting of the 2000 Intifada, where biased and fabricated narratives brainwashed the public's understanding of the conflict. Landes shows how the media's inversion of reality painted Israeli soldiers, who tried to minimize civilian deaths, as Nazis. Meanwhile, terrorists who used their own civilians as shields were treated leniently. This blinds the uninformed to the true enemy.
Landes also explores post-modernism's emphasis on narrative over fact, as well as the distinctions between zero-sum societies and those with a democratic ethos. By analyzing these factors, he highlights the larger issues that plagued Western responses to Jihadi terror over the past few decades. All this is written in an easy and straightforward style.
In "Can the Whole World Be Wrong?", Richard Landes masterfully exposes the failures of Western journalism and the willful blindness of those in positions of influence and power. Landes challenges readers to question prevailing narratives and reassess their understanding of the sustained assault on Western civilization.
This well written book is a must read for students, honest journalists, defenders of Israel in the realm of thought and ideas, and anyone who enjoys foundational truths. “Can the Whole World be Wrong” is a unique, modern handbook of critical analysis and free thinking.