Alumna’s ‘Intractable’ podcast provides context to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Skyler Inman’s new podcast ‘Intractable’ aims to offer American audiences a balanced, multi-faceted, and contextual look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A military conflict in Jerusalem

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict rarely garners media attention until violence breaks out, leaving American news consumers without necessary context. Inman hopes her podcast, Intractable, will help to correct that. (Photo courtesy: Skyler Inman)

Is it possible to provide a new, multi-faceted look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that welcomes all viewpoints and provides much-needed context to American audiences? Skyler Inman ’17 B.A., believes it is — and her new podcast, “Intractable,” aims to do just that.

Inman says she’s always been interested in “problems that seemed unsolvable,” beginning with a special project she pursued in high school on the ethnic history of Yugoslavia, which became the main topic of conversation in her Yale admissions interview. As a sophomore at Yale, she traveled with the student-led Peace and Dialogue Leadership Initiative to Israel and Palestine. The experience sparked her interest but left her with lots of unanswered questions about a region that’s been at an impasse marked by turmoil and violence for the past 70 years.

Skyler Inman
Skyler Inman ’17 B.A. is making a podcast called Intractable that provides measured looks at the history of conflict in the region and the lives of those affected. (Photo courtesy of Skyler Inman)

The way we digest news, everything is shortened. All the stories you hear lack history,” Inman says. “I hope my podcast offers people an entry-point.”

Funded by Yale University's Howland and Cohen Fellowships, “Intractable” does not ignore breaking news. In fact, the first episode includes mention of President Trump’s March 16 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the violence that followed. But the show sticks to its own timeline — providing measured looks at the history of conflict in the region and the lives of those affected. 

Inman, who is living in Tel Aviv, notes that the region is incredibly small (about the size of New Jersey) and “everyone knows everyone,” so it’s fairly easy to get a cross-section of society. She has talked to Yariv Ben-Eliezer, the grandson of Israel's founding father, David Ben-Gurion, and Palestinian comedian Amer Zahr, as well as professors, students, a theater director, activists, and many others whose stories don’t fit a prescribed narrative.

The common ground is that the conflict affects everyone,” Inman says. “It has hurt everyone in some way. Most people want it to be over and don’t have a clue how that could happen.” She mentions an upcoming episode that will feature a statistician who has begun the real work of determining, in precise detail, what it would take for Israelis and Palestinians to accept a two-state solution.

Ultimately,” says Inman, “people in the region care that their stories are being heard and their pain acknowledged.”

Noting the current violence that has overtaken the region following President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Inman says she’s focused on talking to experts and local people about how a peaceful solution can actually be achieved. “It can be uncomfortable to seek out different opinions,” Inman says. “When you listen to the podcast, you don’t control what you hear. You are forced to meet people where they are.”

She’ll wrap up her 10-episode season in late July, but is interested in continuing the effort. The region and its people have drawn her in, Inman said, and she will return to Jerusalem in the fall to begin a master’s program in Mideast studies. 

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