Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong? Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad

In 1892, when Jews denied accusations of eating the blood of Christian boys, the
response was: “Can everybody be wrong and the Jews right?” In 2002, when the news
media buzzed with accusations of the IDF massacring Palestinian civilians at Jenin, the
then Secretary General didn’t even ask: “I don’t think the whole world can be wrong and
Israel be right.” And yet, not only were they both wrong, but this time, getting it wrong
has put the entire global democratic experiment at risk. Drawing on his familiarity with
the dynamics of apocalyptic movements, Richard Landes examines the political and
journalistic scene at the turn of the third millennium (2000-2003) and the radical
mismatch between two millennial styles, an Islamist pre-modern and a Western post-

Landes, a medievalist and historian of apocalyptic movements who has written
extensively on apocalyptic expectations around the year 1000, now turns his attention
to the year 2000. In Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism,
Antisemitism, and Global Jihad
, he documents how a radical inability of Westerners to
understand the medieval mentality that drives Global Jihad prompted a series of
misguided reactions that have shaped our so-far unhappy century. Misinterpretations of
unfolding events on the world stage in 2000 (the “murder” of Muhammad al Durah),
2001 (9/11), 2002 (the Jenin “massacre”), contributed fundamentally to the ever-
worsening moral and empirical disorientations of our information elites exemplified in
the disastrous Western response to the Danish Cartoon riots (2005-6). These radical
disorientations have created our current dilemma of pervasive information distrust and
its attendant proliferation of conspiracy theory, deep splits within the voting public in
most democracies between information elites and the populace, the politicization of
science and tribalization of politics, and the inability of Western elites to defend their
civilization even as they adopt increasingly self-destructive ideologies, and instead, to
stand down before an invasion.

As the world comes closer to the second quarter of this century and the political arena
has become more polarized and distrust in the media has become more pervasive. Can
“The Whole World” Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad offers original and compelling insights into our current trajectory.

About the Author
Professor Richard Landes was trained as a medievalist and taught in the Boston University History Department. His book, Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience (2011), examines apocalyptic and millennial movements from Ancient Egypt to Global Jihad. He is now an independent historian living in Jerusalem. His work focuses on apocalyptic beliefs at the turn of the first millennium (the Peace of God) and the second millennium (Global Jihad, Woke).

Title: Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong”?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad Author: Richard Landes Publisher: Academic Studies Press PB ISBN: 9781644696415 534 pgs. , Price: $24.95, Digital ePub.: 9781644699942 Price: $24.95 Library HC ISBN: 9781644696408 534 pgs., Price: $129, Digital PDF (library purchase only): 9781644696422 Price: $150 Pub date: Dec. 2022

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