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Islamist Terror; Journalistic Error


Jeffrey Herf
Quillette, Dec. 2, 2022

In response to this era of Islamist inspired terror, a body of scholarship and intellectual intervention emerged that sought to introduce some nuance and clarity into the public debate.’
 
A review of Can The Whole World” Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad by Richard Landes, 523 pages, Academic Studies Press (November 2022)
 
In Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong?, Richard Landes, a historian of apocalyptic movements in medieval Europe, re-examines the reporting of Palestinian attacks on Israel, starting with the Second Intifada that began in September 2000. Principally, he looks at the ways in which postcolonial ideology and the intimidation of journalists have been used to obscure the links between Islamist ideology and terrorist practice, and how this process disfigures public discourse and understanding.

Many of Landes’s points and arguments will be familiar to those who have followed this topic over the years—his criticisms of anti-Zionists like Edward Said, Judith Butler, and Tony Judt; his disapproval of Western feminists’ reluctance to denounce Islamist misogyny and antisemitism; and his impatience with progressive Jewish academics reluctant to address the Islamist ideological sources of the terrorist campaigns against Israel. It would also have been a better book at half the length, and some of the language—“lethal journalism,” “Caliphator,” “demopolitics,” “cogwar,” “cognitive warrior”—is unnecessarily hot. Nevertheless, overall, Landes’s new work makes a distinctive and valuable contribution to the large body of existing literature on antisemitism and the global jihad. … [To read the full article, click here] 

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