this american life podcast flagthe night in question

A couple days ago I was interviewed by Karl Mamer, out of Canada, for his podcast, The Conspiracy Skeptic; I suspect the episode will be up soon. He asked me if I listen to This American Life, one of the best produced podcasts out there, and of course I do, but I hadn’t yet listened to the episode he told me about, “The Night In Question.” The next day my wife told me about the same episode and said I had to listen to it, because it would be, “right up your alley,” or something like that. Well, I just finished it, and it was interesting.

The episode deals with the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a religious Jew, with help from his brother, another religious Jew, because they were upset about The Oslo Accords, a 1993 peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite the fact that the evidence is as clear cut as clear cut can be, one third of Israelis today still believe there was a larger conspiracy at work in Rabin’s death. The show makes reference to this event as the Israeli JFK assassination, which is understandable, despite some obvious differences between the two cases. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people everywhere buy into tales of conspiracy but it is a little sad to hear how many Jews have bought into this particular tale, given the fact that Jews are the oldest victims of conspiracist thinking.

The end of the episode was a little unclear and almost seemed to suggest that there was some truth to the conspiracy stories; “maybe there are loose ends out there,” which could help the confessed murderer get out of prison. Such an important point should not have been made in such an ambiguous way. It really left me wondering, “What do you mean? What kind of loose ends? How would they help him to get out of prison?” But the rest of the reporting was good. This conspiracy story, which I had not heard before, had that typical Hollywood feel to it, where people imagine that it could be true simply because they can dream it up. So much of it comes down to feelings over facts.

Maybe someday This American Life will be talking to me about my film, Conspiracy Theorists Lie (2015), and my efforts to push back against conspiracy nonsense. Stranger things have happened, right?

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