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Legal experts cannot erase Israel's history of torture

Since 2001 over 850 complaints of torture have been submitted by Palestinians. Not a single criminal investigation has been opened. 

By Dr. Ishai Menuhin

Whenever Israel signs a treaty, international standards require it to come up with creative bypasses and convoluted legal answers for its actions. At the same, the Israeli government finds it difficult to implement the commitments it has taken upon itself in our name. This is because both the General Security Service (GSS) and the broader Israeli security establishment are interested in violating the human rights of those they interrogate, rather than observe international standards and rules.

On Monday, Israeli representatives presented the state’s position before the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva regarding country’s commitment to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which Israel signed in 1966 and ratified in 1991.

Palestinian organizer tortured in Israeli jail (activestills)

A Palestinian organizer who was tortured in an Israeli jail (Activestills.org)

Representatives from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) were also present at the meeting. They argued that Israel has failed to meet its commitments, and that no significant change has been seen since the time Israeli representatives stood before the committee, four years ago. Members of PCATI further explained that the Israeli government has not yet enacted a law against torture, despite its stated commitments per the convention, as well that of the Convention Against Torture, to do so. Both the Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture (CAT) have repeatedly recommended that Israel enact such a law, which is required by any country that signs the aforementioned conventions. The Israeli government and the Knesset have refrained from doing so.

Legal experts have authored long and creative replies explaining that although there is no law against torture, it is strictly prohibited by sundry sections of Israeli law. Thus, they argue, there is no need for legislation. They have also refrained from implementing the Turkel Commission’s recommendations to enact any such law.

PCATI members also argued that the refusal of the government and the Knesset to introduce protective mechanisms against torture are completely contrary to Israel’s actions in the treaties it has signed and ratified. These include audiovisual documentation of interrogations of security suspects or mechanisms for unannounced visits to interrogation facilities by independent bodies. Audiovisual documentation is also part of the Turkel Commission’s core recommendations. However, respect for the now-disbanded commission is lower than that of the attorney general and GSS legal advisors, both of which who have no interest in documenting interrogators who commit torture, not to mention exposing them to criminal investigation.

Furthermore, members of PCATI drew the committee’s attention to the discriminatory methods used for the examination of complaints. These include an inspector responsible for examining complaints, who can merely recommend the opening or closing of a criminal investigation (a minor change introduced last year makes the inspector, who as noted can only make a recommendation, an employee of the Ministry of Justice rather than of the GSS); a supervisor of the inspector who is authorized only to close complaints and is not empowered to order the opening of a criminal investigation against GSS interrogators; and the attorney general, or a person empowered thereby, who has the sole authority to order the investigation of a GSS interrogator.

Israeli soldiers blindfold and arrest a young Palestinian man in Hebron. (photo: Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers blindfold and arrest a young Palestinian man in Hebron. (photo: Activestills.org)

PCATI also drew the committee’s attention to an appalling statistic: Since 2001 over 850 complaints of torture have been submitted by Palestinians, yet not a single criminal investigation has been opened. The three attorney generals who have served over this period have “successfully” and consistently prevented the investigation of complaints of torture, thereby damaging the rule of law. As opposed to ordinary citizens, it seems that attorney generals are allowed to ignore the rule of law whenever it applies to figures in the security establishment.

As noted, the Israeli government has signed onto numerous international treaties on our behalf, yet it has no interest in observing them. It has declared that we are a country committed to protecting human rights. But the occupation requires the use of prohibited means, and torture “for occupation – each occupation – has its own principles,” as the Israeli writer S. Yizhar noted as early as 1967, “but there are no and have never been lovable occupiers.” It is not possible to be a democracy today without a staunch commitment to human rights. The government’s convoluted replies are given in order to hide its use of torture, and attempt to prevent any meaningful change in Israel’s attitude toward Palestinian human rights.

Dr. Ishai Menuhin is the Executive Director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and a chairperson for Amnesty International – Israel. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

Related:
‘Protecting Palestinians isn’t part of Israel’s ethos’
What the bones remember: Israeli doctors talk torture
Palestinian kids detail abusive interrogations, arrests

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    1. Pedro X

      So, according to the writer since 2001 there have been 850 complaints, or 71 a year, of mistreatment by Israelis of Palestinians. The writer does not break down the types of mistreatment. We know that Palestinians complain that riding on the floor of a vehicle or being made to sit in an uncomfortable position are types of torture. We do not know how many of the 850 complaints are trivial or serious. We do not know if any of these persons who are complaining were ticking bombs. And yes Israel has had investigations. Every time an inmate dies in custody there is a judicial inquest.

      Now look at the Palestinians. Khaled Abu Toameh wrote in the Gatestoneinstitute that over 150 cases of Palestinian torture in 2013 were made against the PA. 11 detainees died in custody and not one inquiry was launched. In none of the cases was an investigation made by the PA.

      Toameh also reported that in January 2014 that there were 56 complaints by Palestinians of torture and mistreatment of Palestinians by Palestinians in Palestinian jails. The Palestinian ICHR noted in January 2014 there were 85 cases of unlawful arrests, mainly for political motives. There have been no investigations of prosecutions.

      One will also remember that Hamas executed dozens of men in the summer of 2014 and not one investigation has been held concerning these deaths.

      The writer also said:

      “It is not possible to be a democracy today without a staunch commitment to human rights.

      The United States of America which routinely used torture against terrorists while upholding human rights for its citizens. Maybe the writer believes that the United States is not a democracy because it tortures terrorists.

      One should also note that many countries aided the Americans in torturing individuals, by aiding the rendition program. What judicial investigations have been instituted against the United States and its European and other allies who aided and abetted the American torture?

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Well, what we DO know, is that ‘human rights’ are anti-Islamic and are against the very fabric of Arab society, which rises a serious question: by what reasoning those who defy a law should be safeguarded by the very same law they defy?

        Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        I’ll accept your data Pedro and if your conclusion is that the PA and Hamas need to be accountable I’ll accept that too.

        I don’t know why you have referred to the US here although I don’t dispute those data either. However I do question whether the U.S. is actually a democracy and wonder why you seem to consider this position to be far-fetched.

        But what is your point Pedro? Yes Palestinian governments indulge in human rights abuses and in an ideal world this would be stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice. Yes, I would like to see that happen. But IF you are suggesting that these abuses excuse ANY other state from using torture then I totally reject your position. Because all torture is obscene and barbaric and should be condemned, period.

        Can you accept that, yes or no?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Mr. Richard Lightbown, this has got to be the only thing you have ever said on this site that makes sense and no sane person could ever disagree with that. I am certain you yourself know that, so why ask? But that’s beside the point, which, again, is: do you have any evidence whatsoever that one single filed complaint about torture:
          (a) has not been investigated in accordance with International standards or
          (b) is not being investigated in accordance with International standards.
          If you have no such evidence, of which Mr. Ishai Menuhin provides NONE, it might be time to keep quiet and stop talking and propagandizing. Find the evidence FIRST, then you have something to talk about. This is not rocket science.

          Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            I think Pedro can answer for himself without any intervention from you ma’am. If you are at a loss for something to do you could give that answer on how international law justifies the mass murder of Gaza families that you have so far continued to duck out on by deliberately misunderstanding what was written and also by answering completely off topic.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Your question, Mr. Lightbown, were more than comprehensively answered on the thread (from Haggai Matar) where it belongs. On said thread, you were clearly invited to make counter arguments. Thus far you have miserably failed to rise to the occasion. You are scared. And you are on the run. I don’t need you to acknowledge defeat (dishonorable men don’t do that). But honest folks who follow our arguments will make up their own minds. It is that simple.

            The ‘a’ and ‘b’ questions in this particular instance are still unanswered! You need to answer them. We are waiting. The clock is ticking ……

            Reply to Comment
    2. CigarButNoNice

      “But the occupation requires the use of prohibited means, and torture ‘for occupation – each occupation – has its own principles,’ as the Israeli writer S. Yizhar noted as early as 1967, ‘but there are no and have never been lovable occupiers.’ ”

      It’s a good point made in the article. The occupation has been a mistake since 1967. Maintaining a military occupation in Judea and Samaria and Gaza as if the Jews were foreign to the land, instead of booting the Arab population out as is customarily done for a colonial demographic, is the great mistake committed in the aftermath of June 1967.

      Justice requires the cessation of this military occupation; the Arab settler population in the Land of Israel needs to be evacuated from the territories it is currently illegally occupying in order to make room for the indigenous of the Land of Israel, the Jews. The folly of the military occupation must be ended by correcting the injustice of the illegal Arab colonization of Jewish land. Without justice there can be no peace.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        My fellow American taxpayers: this is in fact the actual attitude of the Israeli political elites. How do you feel about the $3,000,000,000 annual check you’re sending to Israel?

        Reply to Comment
        • Weiss

          This American Jew is APPALLED by it.

          WE Jews are supposed to be FIGHTING Fascism NOT EMBRACING IT !!!

          Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            “This American Jew is APPALLED by it.”

            Sorta like I’m appalled by the Bark Mitzvah type of fads embraced by American Jews, I guess.

            “WE Jews are supposed to be FIGHTING Fascism NOT EMBRACING IT !!!”

            If this is fascism then every nation-state is fascist. And if it’s fascist, then just what exactly are we going to say about the anti-Zionists’ calls for Judea and Samaria to be ETHNICALLY CLEANSED of all their Jews? Why is it evil when Arabs are concerned, but good when Jews are on the receiving end?

            Stupid Jews. The Arabs everywhere stand up for their national struggles, including their project of stealing the Land of Israel from the Jews (the indigenous of the Land of Israel), while so many Jews not only fail to stand up for their national interests, but join the Arab imperialist campaign as useful idiots.

            Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Bruce Gould and Mr. Weiss – without yet getting into the merits of this poorly written article that is based mostly on falsified and/or unverifiable facts, I will remind you of the following:

          1. In Iraq, members of the United States Armed Forces (a) gang-raped defenseless Iraqi women, (b) killed them and (c) burnt their bodies.
          The memory of these women, their suffering and the sheer horror they went through hunts me and always engulf my heart in sorrow. In my prayers, the few Arabs I always remember are these poor women. May Hashem grant them Eternal Peace!

          2. Within the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy and the United States Air Force, the rapes of female cadets are an unwritten norm! Most rapes are unreported, because the women involved fear for their lives and loss of career(opportunities). Many of the rapes that are reported get swept under the rug, while the plaintiff women get discharged from the military! Et cetera, et cetera.

          3. Before you rear you rear your ugly heads again pointing your hypocritical dirty fingers at Israel based on the falsified information provided by Dr. Ishai Menuhin (is he a real “Dr” or an ‘honorary Dr’?) in his article, I will urge you to look at yourself and your country first! When it comes to the protection of human rights, the United States becomes a dwarf when compared to Israel. This is a debate I am more than willing to have with you and others, because the raw sewage you hatemongers spew against Israel is just nauseating. Enough already!

          Reply to Comment
          • So, while you deflect allegations of torture by noting allegations (and convictions) for rape by the US Armed Forces, the US Armed Forces can deflect allegations of rape by noting Israel does not investigate allegations of torture under its command.

            Everyone wins.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Mr. Greg Pollock, it is a monumental shame, is it not, that gang-raping women, killing them and setting them on fire (while they are still alive) upon brutal rapes by Soldiers is considered a deflection! Doth this not reflect your state of mind and the kind of person you really are? Forget about the crimes against humanity committed by YOUR country men and focus on the fabricated crimes of Israel? I understand. Jews are your obsession and that’s the only place you want your search light focused on. What the heck.

            Btw: the ubiquitous DOCTOR Ishai Menuhin did not provide a single evidence of any file complaint of torture has not been investigated c.q. is not being investigating. If you have any such evidence, you are more than welcomed to shear it here. If not, don’t ever crash in here again to waste my time.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Correction

            “…. a single evidence of any filed complaint of torture that has not been investigated c.q. is not being investigated ……” (was meant).

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger, your response to Greg Pollock is completely inadequate.

            You posted a “logic” that said that because US forces rape and/or murder then it is hypocritical to complain about the torture of Palestinians by Israeli security forces.

            Greg was perfectly correct to point out that your “logic” works both ways i.e. the US military can return the favour by pointing to the torture of Palestinians by Israelis and claim that this exempts it from any criticism of its own human rights abuses.

            His is a valid point i.e. your argument does nothing more than legitimize all torture on the grounds that: They did it too, so stop complaining about me.

            And, once again, your reply to Greg was no reply at all, precisely because you did not even attempt to address that flaw in your argument.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. Below I provided clear evidence why this article from Mr. Ishai Menuhin is based (in part on falsified information). None, and I mean NONE, of you has been able to refute that. Yourself and others are still invited to do that. It is a challenge!

            2. As I also made clear, there is NO evidence that any filed complaint of torture (a) has not been investigated or (b) is not being investigated. Mr. Greg Pollock makes, as such, NO valid point. And again, none, and I mean NONE, of you has been able to refute that. Yourself and others are still invited to do that. It is a challenge!

            (btw., Greg Pollock has been on the run for almost a year now and he knows exactly why. But now and then he sneaks in here with a comment of some sort and runs away again. Pls. leave that individual out of the equation and concentrate on the substance of the arguments – else I won’t bother replying.).

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            GE: “As I also made clear, there is NO evidence that any filed complaint of torture (a) has not been investigated or (b) is not being investigated.”

            Ahem. The article makes clear that no CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION has ever been opened.

            Not once.
            Not ever.

            GE: “And again, none, and I mean NONE, of you has been able to refute that.”

            See above.

            The article itself makes a clear distinction between an “an inspector responsible for examining complaints” and a “criminal investigation”.

            The former does not possess the authority to open a criminal investigation No Matter What He Finds During His “Inspection” Of The Evidence.

            He is, in every sense, a powerless and meaningless fig leaf.

            So Ginger is guilty of a crude sleight-of-hand i.e. he talks about “investigations” (which are actually meaningless “inspections”) when everyone else is talking about “criminal investigations”.

            Busted, Ginger.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            YeahRight: “Ahem. The article makes clear that no CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION has ever been opened. The article itself makes a clear distinction between an “an inspector responsible for examining complaints” and a “criminal investigation”.

            1. Claiming that the earth is flat doesn’t make it so – you need to provide evidence. You need to cite specific cases along with the material allegations made therein and the date the complaint was filed. Stop putting the cart before the horse.
            2. The absence of a criminal investigation is not evidence of a complaint. You need to provide proof of specific complaint(s), that’s your starting point!
            3. If a complaint was disposed of because it lacks merit, there need not be a criminal investigation and the complainant has a right to appeal the decision all the way to the Israeli Courts!
            4. If a complaint is found to be founded, there are several remedies (plural) available depending on the nature of the abuse. Criminal Justice is an “ultimum remedium”!
            5. IF there is no Probable Cause’ that a crime has been committed, the law does not allow for criminal investigation (its like this in all countries).

            “Busted, Ginger.”

            Not so fast! You have not refuted anything, yet.

            (This is a repost – shortened version of the original. You may ignore said original if it still miraculously emerges.)

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger is arguing that this statistic:
            “Since 2001 over 850 complaints of torture have been submitted by Palestinians,”
            can be dismissed as a fabrication, which would mean that the follow-up statement:
            “yet not a single criminal investigation has been opened.”
            becomes meaningless.

            No complaints of criminality = no criminal investigations.

            Ahem.

            PCATI didn’t collate that number itself.

            It obtained that number by asking the Israeli Ministry of Justice how many complaints it had received, and the Ministry replied with: 850 complaints have been received since 2001.

            The statistic is therefore accurate, precisely because it was obtained from an authoritative source.

            Which you would know if you took the trouble to read the briefing papers.

            Got that?

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger: “You need to cite specific cases along with the material allegations made therein and the date the complaint was filed.”

            No, I need do no such thing.

            All I need to do is to point out where the PCATI obtained its figures for:
            a) the number of complaints of torture lodged with the IMoJ, and
            b) the number of criminal investigations opened by the IMoJ in response to those complaints

            So, where did PCATI get those figures?

            Why, PCATI didn’t pluck those numbers out of thin air.

            In both cases it asked the Attorney General, and the AG gave an authoritative answer i.e. “850”, and “zero”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger: “The absence of a criminal investigation is not evidence of a complaint.”

            Ahem. The figure of 850 complaints of torture lodged with the Israel Ministry of Justice was obtained by PCATI via a request for information to the Israel MoJ.

            So unless you want to claim that the Attorney General of Israel simply plucked that number out of his backside…..

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger: “If a complaint was disposed of because it lacks merit, there need not be a criminal investigation and the complainant has a right to appeal the decision all the way to the Israeli Courts!”

            There are two propositions in that sentence.

            The first:
            “If a complaint was disposed of because it lacks merit, there need not be a criminal investigation”

            That requires us to believe that 850 complaints of torture can be lodged, and NOT ONE OF THEM has the slightest merit at all.

            NOT ONE.

            That sounds about right to you, does it, Ginger?

            The second proposition is this:
            “and the complainant has a right to appeal the decision all the way to the Israeli Courts!”

            That statement is untrue.

            A complaint is lodged with the Israel Ministry of Justice.

            That complaint is then “inspected” by a person who does NOT have the authority to open a criminal investigation.

            The “inspectors report” (either good or bad, damning or dismissive) then goes to the Attorney General, who is the only person who DOES have the authority to order a criminal investigation.

            The AG has never once issued such an order.

            At that point the avenues for “appeal” are over.

            Nobody can argue before an Israeli court that their complaint was not acted upon by the Attorney General, precisely because no court can overturn that (non)decision of the AG.

            And if a court can’t overturn that decision then that court will not agree to hear the complaint.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger: “If a complaint is found to be founded, there are several remedies (plural) available depending on the nature of the abuse.”

            The point that Ginger appears to be missing is that the mechanism set up by the Israeli govt is specifically designed to dismiss all complaints as “unfounded” before they reach the stage of a criminal investigation.

            As in: the person who “inspects” the complaint does not have the authority to order a criminal investigation, whereas the person who does have that authority is kept at arms-length from that “inspection” process.

            That produces a caricature of “due-process” when in reality it is simply a juvenile game of “pass the parcel”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            Ginger: “IF there is no Probable Cause’ that a crime has been committed, the law does not allow for criminal investigation (its like this in all countries).”

            I’m going to repeat myself with this one, precisely because this is merely a regurgitation of Ginger’s Point (3).

            Nonetheless….

            What Ginger fails to note is that the person who “inspects” the complaint does not have the authority to order a criminal investigation.

            Which means that the only person in a position to make a finding of “probable cause” is not allowed to make that finding. He can only “recommend”.

            Equally, the one person who does have that authority (the Attorney General) is not involved in that “inspection”.

            Which means that while he is allowed to make a finding of “probable cause” he is carefully kept away from the evidence needed to reach such a finding.

            So by the time it reaches the AG’s desk that complaint has been successfully laundered i.e. the AG is only making a decision about “what my inspector is recommending”.

            And since it is only a “recommendation” then the AG is at liberty to ignore it, for whatever reason (or even no reason at all).

            Which he inevitably does.

            The complaint is thereby dismissed without any need to address “probable cause”, precisely because what the AG is dismissing is “his inspectors recommendations”, not “the merits of the complaint”.

            It’s a neat trick, and deliberately designed to fool the gullible.

            You know, people like Ginger.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            You still don’t get it.
            1. If you file 100-million complaints that are headlined torture, whereas the material allegation thereof is e.g. (and I mean e.g.) that Bordeaux wine is not served in prison or that the detainee was stripped naked and his anus searched for contraband, such an a complaint will be thrown out and the detainee gets to appeal all the way to the Israeli courts and force a criminal investigation (if the courts agree with him. The Justice Ministry is not above the law in Israel and has been successfully taken to court on countless times!
            2. If the material allegation is grounded AND violates the law, the appropriate remedy (which may range from warning, suspension, discharge to criminal prosecution and imprisonment, etc.) will be applied (depending on the nature and severity of the abuse). This is International standard!
            3. International law does not mandate “a criminal investigation” each time a torture-complaint is filed and the absence of said “criminal investigation” is no proof that complaints. First comes the administrative part to determine what the material allegation is and whether or no criminal investigation or any other type of action is warranted. You need to differentiate between administrative and criminal procedure.
            4. To prove that (a) that torture occurred and (b) a complaint was filed, but (c) was not disposed off in accordance with International standards, you need (a) to cite specific cases, (b) mention the material allegations, (c) the date of the complaint and (d) how it was disposed off. You have said that you are UNABLE to do so. Thus you have NO evidence to support your claim!
            5. All the numbers and statistics you provide are useless, because they only point to the absence of “a criminal investigations” which is NOT a proof that complaints were not/are not being disposed off in accordance with International law (that allows for a wide range of options).

            Your entire case fails.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Correction re typo in no. ‘3’

            “3. International law does not mandate “a criminal investigation” each time a torture-complaint is filed and the absence of said “criminal investigation” is no proof that complaints were not handled in accordance with International standards. First comes the administrative part to determine what the material allegation is and whether or not criminal investigation or any other type of action is warranted. You need to differentiate between administrative and criminal procedure.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, right

            OK, Ginger still refuses to get it.

            The author (correctly) points out that the process is deliberately designed so that torture complaints can never, ever make it past that “administrative procedure”.

            Which is why 850 complaints can be lodged without resulting in a single “criminal investigation” being opened.

            Not once. Not ever.

            Ginger “explains” that away, first by disputing that 850 complaints were ever lodged, and now by using the child-logic that since none of the complaints resulted in criminal investigations then none of those complaints could have had any merit.

            Ahem. There is another explanation, which is that the state of Israel isn’t interested in stopping torture, so it does the next-best-thing: Israel makes it impossible for a complaint to receive any due process.

            How?

            By ensuring that the person who “inspects” the complaint CAN’T order a criminal investigation, while the Attorney General who CAN order criminal proceedings DOESN’T “inspect” the complaint.

            Round and round the parcel goes, to be dropped in the bin the moment the music stops….

            Ginger, baby, if you think that 850 complaints of torture can be lodged and NOT A ONE OF THEM has any merit then, honestly, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

            One owner, good condition.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            YeahRight, All decisions of the IPS, the Israel Justice Ministry and ALL branches of the Executive are subject to Judicial Review. This means that any complainant who disagrees with the decisions- or absence thereof on his complaint can DIRECTLY appeal to the Israeli courts and needs no permission from anyone to do so! If the appellant claims that the Israeli Authorities have unjustly refused to open a criminal investigation, the courts will examine said claim. If the claim is founded, the courts will ORDER criminal investigation. If not, the courts will deny the appeal. Again, your case fails. Why is this too difficult to understand?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Again, all decisions of the Executive branch of the Israeli government are subject to judicial review. Anyone who files a complaint of torture and (a) gets a decision he does not like or (b) does not get any decision at all, may appeal DIRECTLY to the Israeli courts. The appellant may request the court to COMPEL a criminal investigation if he thinks that such is the only appropriate remedy. If the court agrees with him, it will order the government to start a criminal investigation. Why do we have to run around circles on this? (This is a repost)

            Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            Now come on Ginger – the only person wasting your time is your good self. That I don’t mind too much, your time your waste. Its my occasional lapses whereby I actually read your posts, and I should know better, that really annoys me. Even worse, when I actually take the time to respond.

            But as I am, cheers to Greg Pollock for a valid point neatly expressed.

            Reply to Comment
          • Weiss

            The article is FACTUAL

            Your Hasbara Bullet Points are DELUSIONAL

            Do us MODERATE Jews a Favor and STOP ACTING LIKE A FASCIST,YOU ARE EMBARRASSING US ALL, because last time I checked,WE Jews are supposed to be FIGHTING AGAINST FASCISM not EMBRACING IT!!!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Mr. Weiss, most unfortunately the only way to earn the title “us moderate Jews” is to slander and demonize Israel, while abusing ones (alleged) Jewishness. Verifiable facts? No no no, damn the truth and hang the Jew!

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Dear Weiss,
            You might as well be talking to an anorexia nervosa patient who is 70″ tall and weighs 79 lbs and insists she’s disgustingly fat. I’ll bet you’re understandably speechless–you hadn’t expected to be informed you are a self-hating slanderer, demonizer and “Jewishness abuser.” Off to the re-education camp with you you miserable scoundrel! : )

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            You see, the real message to us, Weiss, is “Shhhhh! You’re a Jew! Shut up! Don’t tell on us to the goyim and the self-haters!” Jewishness as a kind of mafia, ruled by a code of omertà.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            You must read it. It is worth a subscription:

            http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/west-of-eden/.premium-1.622603#

            At this rate, every Tom, Dick and Harriet will soon be an anti-Semite
            Defining critics as anti-Semites gives the Israeli right wing a blank check to defy the world, which hates us anyway.
            By Chemi Shalev | Oct. 24, 2014 | 7:27 PM |

            At the speed we’re going, it’s just a matter of time before anti-Semites take over the world. Just a few years ago they were relatively few and far between, hiding under a rock here or concealing their true colors there, but now, almost out of nowhere, anti-Semites are springing up everywhere, at least if you go by the right-wing’s constantly revised and perpetually expanding definitions….

            Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        You should shriek this excellent monologue while wearing a brown shirt and goose stepping in Rabin Square. That would really be stirring. It gives me goose bumps just imagining it.

        Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          Save the brown shirt and goose stepping for yourself, Brian, when you join those “Palestine free from the river to the sea” rallies where the Arab imperialist vision of appropriating the Land of Israel and dispossessing the Jewish nation of what little they have is shouted out loud.

          Your support of the Arab colonialist enterprise against an indigenous people (the Jews, the indigenous of the Land of Israel) would do a wartime German on Polish territory proud. Anti-Zionists are the last ones who have the right to talk about the ills of fascism.

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    3. Ginger Eis

      This article is based on fabricated facts, conjecture and bad logic. As evidence of his allegations against Israel, Mr. Ishai Menuhin provided a picture from Activestills.org of what he claimed to be “A Palestinian organizer who was tortured in an Israeli jail”. However, there is:

      a. NO evidence that said person is a “Palestinian”;

      b. NO evidence that said person, if he is a “Palestinian”, has ever been to Israel – let alone “Israeli jail”;

      c. NO evidence that said person, if he is a “Palestinian” and has been to Israel, was ever in the custody of Israeli authorities;

      d. NO evidence that said person, if he is a “Palestinian”, has been to Israel and was ever in the custody of Israeli authorities, was tortured by Israeli authorities or suffered any harm within the meaning of provisions of diverse International Conventions on torture;

      e. NO evidence that what appears to be bodily injuries on the picture are in fact actual injuries;

      f. NO evidence of when the picture was taken, who took the picture and where said picture was taken;

      g. NO evidence any medical records of any kind to support the alleged injuries and torture(s).

      Et cetera, et cetera.

      Mr… eh… Dr. Ishai Menuhin, the entirety of the message of your article is based on fabrications. You want to talk about what “legal experts” can and cannot do? Well, you need no experts, because average Israeli high school students who care deeply for their country and the fate of the Jewry will take you on and destroy you in any debate. Let’s get started – are ya ready!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Richard

      If you want to advocate for better investigations, you can’t prematurely conclude that those investigations will reveal torture. Too much bias here. I question the author’s good faith desire to get better investigations. If that’s what he wanted, he would at least feign impartiality.

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    5. Bruce Gould

      My thesis has always been that Israel is an entirely normal society. It is inhabited by entirely normal people and run by entirely normal politicians who do things for all the reasons that entirely normal politicians elsewhere are motivated by. People seem to be awakening from their long sleep and realizing this, and a lot of folks do not like it one bit.

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    6. Noe

      It’s interesting that the author went back to 2001. Apparently, a significant number of the ALLEGED torture took place in the key years of the Palestinian War of 2000 when Palestinian suicide bombers were murdering dozens of Israelis with great frequency and the Israelis were concerned with the issue of the ticking bomb.

      It is also notable that all this article does is rehash this man’s and his organizations’ views while simply dismissing those of the State of Israel. Other than complaining that the State’s lawyers write long and creative pieces opposing his views, might he actually give us some examples of what is wrong with their claims, if there is anything?

      Israel states it doesn’t engage in torture and its High Court has stated that torture is impermissible. Other than plenty of innuendo and virtually nothing else in the way of substance, where is the author’s evidence? This is a serious question. The problem is that there are organizations that are built under the guise of human rights NGOs but are actually nothing more than political weapons to be used against Israel. Among them is the organization that collected the supposed testimonies of some Palestinian youths in the link provided in the piece who were supposedly tortured. The head of that organization is a committed anti-Israel activist and leading participant in Kairos. He and his organization are about as believable as the Hamas organization that was feeding the UN with “civilian” casualty figures this past war.

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      • Yeah, right

        Noe: “It is also notable that all this article does is rehash this man’s and his organizations’ views while simply dismissing those of the State of Israel.”

        Yeah, PCATI’s lawyer is invited to write an op-ed for +972, and in it he advocates the position of the PCATI.

        Can’t imagine why he didn’t take Noe’s advice and act as the Attorney General’s Press Secretary…..

        In the last few years I’ve read op-eds in the New York Times written by such luminaries as Danny Danon and Naftali Bennett.

        And in those op-eds those apparatchiks commit the same sin that Noe finds so objectionable: they advocate for their own organization.

        What. Is. The. World. Coming. To?

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    7. Richard Lightbown

      You claim ‘Israel states it doesn’t engage in torture’. Yet former heads of the Shin Bet referred to the use of torture in the film The Gatekeepers. How do you explain that away?

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      • Ginger Eis

        Mr. Richard Lightbown, torture is a legal term. The claim e.g. “I was tortured” does not necessarily mean that the claimant was tortured within the meaning of the law. You ought to (a) provide the exact quote of the statement you have in mind, (b) define torture within the meaning of the relevant provision on torture and (c) demonstrate how the quote fits into the definition. If it doesn’t fit, then, it ain’t torture. You might in fact discover the answer you seek yourself and you can then share said answer with us. Surely, less may not be expected of a highly intelligent man like yourself, no?

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      • Brian

        Richard L.,
        If I were you I would not waste my time. This person has already been confronted with direct quotes from a Shin Bet Director and from the President of Israel that baldly contradict her hysterically defended narrative. Caught with that, her response was to babble hysterically about 10 Jews with 100 opinions.
        As best I can tell she views Jewishness as a kind of mafia, ruled by a code of omertà.
        She seems to be right in line with the goose stepping Cigarbutt, above.
        What I can very clearly tell is that she is utterly ridiculous, a cartoon.

        Reply to Comment
        • Richard Lightbown

          You’re quite right about Boring Bor/Ginger Eis, Brian and I won’t be wasting my time. I was actually trying to draw an answer out of Noe, but he/she/it has declined to justify their statement in the context of damning evidence to the contrary.

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          • Brian

            Thanks, I should have prefaced my remark by “I admire your effort and I understand the temptation, but if I were you….”

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    8. Yeah, right

      I’d like to point out that almost every apologia in this talkback thread uses a variation of this logic: Since Not One Of Those 850 Complaints Was Investigated Then Why Claim That Any Of Those Complaints Were Valid?

      Or, put in the way that our hasbarist friends really think: I betcha’ all 850 of those Arabs were just dirty no-good lyin’ ragheads…

      Ahem.

      The way to find out how many of those 850 complaints are valid is to have in place a unambiguous legislative prohibition on torture that is policed by a robust and independent office that does not leave the final decision to a politicized office such as that of the Attorney General.

      You know, exactly what PCATI is advocating, and what the Israeli govt consistently fails to implement.

      How many of those 850 complaints were vexatious? Nobody knows, because Israel won’t open a criminal investigation into ANY of them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Noe

        Perhaps the author could present the arguments the Israelis are making? After all, they are making them to the UN. Presumably, they have some serious thinking and legal reasoning behind them.

        Personally, I’m not opposed to any independent body investigating something.

        You can bet, however, that many of the 850 claims ARE vexatious. Just like so many of the claims in the recent Gaza war were vexatious, such as calling many combatants “civilians” including combatants who were counted as children.

        elderofziyon.blogspot.com/search/label/Fake Civilians 2014

        Reply to Comment
        • Yeah, right

          Noe: “Perhaps the author could present the arguments the Israelis are making?”

          You appear not to understand the distinction between an “op-ed” and an “investigative story”.

          Noe, dude, this isn’t a piece of investigative journalism.

          It’s an “op-ed”, and in an “op-ed” the author expresses his “op” i.e. his opinion.

          If you don’t like that then don’t complain to the author.

          Complain to +972mag for not asking the Attorney General to write another “op-ed” setting out the position of the Government of Israel.

          But here is a prediction: if Weinstein ever did write such an op-ed (a very big “if” indeed) then I bet you all the Tea In China that he won’t spend one single second extolling the virtues of the PCATI’s argument.

          That’s not his job, you see, because he’s not a journalist.

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          • Noe

            Thanks for acknowledging the one-sided presentation.

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          • Yeah, right

            Noe: “Thanks for acknowledging the one-sided presentation.”

            Ladies and Gentlemen, our weasel-word for today is “presentation”.

            A word that is, in this context, utterly and completely meaningless.

            Is this article a piece of investigative journalism?

            No.

            Does it attempt to pass itself off as investigative journalism?

            No.

            So what is it?

            It is an op-ed penned by PCATI’s lawyer, wherein he presents the PCATI’s argument.

            Is there anything wrong with that?

            No, so long as the author identifies who he is and who he is advocating for.

            Oh, look, the author did exactly that.

            Dude, you may as well argue that a NYTimes op-ed penned by Abe Foxman is “one-sided”.

            Or that a Washington Post op-ed written by Naftali Bennett is “one-sided”.

            Yeah, they are. Odd, that….

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          • Noe

            Quite a bit of bluster.

            Instead of all the noise, might you perhaps look at the TITLE of this piece? It states, “Legal experts cannot erase Israel’s history of torture.”

            The essay, presentation, op-ed, article, investigative report or whatever you would like to call it does NOT say what the legal experts are saying to erase Israel’s history of torture. It doesn’t even discuss the history of torture in Israel.

            I understand that you don’t really want to hear any side other than that which is critical of Israel. However, most people do and so do I.

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          • Yeah, right

            Noe: “The essay, presentation, op-ed, article, investigative report or whatever you would like to call it”….

            ….OK, I’m going to point out – again – that it is blindingly obvious that Noe does not understand the difference between a piece of investigative journalism and an op-ed.

            The distinction is utterly lost on him, which is precisely why he thinks he can get away with using the timey-wimey, wishy-washy, non-word “presentation”.

            He uses it because he doesn’t know any better.

            Which rather begs the question: why is he commenting on something that he knows nothing about?

            Noe, dude, the key isn’t to be found in the title. It’s to be found in the footnote: “Dr. Ishai Menuhin is the Executive Director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and a chairperson for Amnesty International – Israel.”

            That makes this an “op-ed”, and since it is his “op-ed” he can talk about anything he damn well likes, and ignore anything he damn well wants to ignore.

            After all, an “op-ed” is a statement of his “opinion”, not yours, not mine, not the Israel Attorney General, Not Anyone But His Own.

            *sheesh*

            Why is that so hard to understand?

            Abe Foxman can write his op-eds anywhere he can find a publisher, and in it he can say whatever he wants, title-be-damned, balance-be-damned.

            Naftali Bennett can do the same; his op-eds require no “balance”, no “on-the-other-hand”.

            But Menuhin? Noooooo, utterly beyond the pale.

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    9. Brian

      A telling detail that illuminates the callous, dehumanized attitude of the fascist-leaning contributors here is that provided by the first one above, Pedro X, who dismissively mentions this:

      “We know that Palestinians complain that riding on the floor of a vehicle or being made to sit in an uncomfortable position are types of torture.”

      It is well documented that being forced to stand or sit for hours in unusually contorted and uncomfortable positions is in fact a very serious form of torture. Everyone here knows very well that were a Jew to be similarly held by anyone, anywhere, Pedro X would be outraged.

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    10. Ginger Eis

      WARNING!

      What you are about to see is extremely difficult stuff to watch. While real crimes against mankind goes on on a daily basis in their respective countries and elsewhere, the hypocrites concentrate on Israel and Israel alone – with FABRICATED facts. They care not about human rights. For them it’s all about their primary obsession: ‘The Jew’!

      Watch! And weep!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWxpQ87C4t4

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      • You are desperately needed at arutz sheva. They love to talk dirty. One sure way to put out a fire is to deprive it of oxygen. Let’s let ginger continue to foam at the mouth, demanding us all to “watch and weep”, demanding all to provide already well-established facts, etc. Let’s see if she’ll burn herself out. Here’s hoping.

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        • Ginger Eis

          An additional 109 individuals have watched the video since I posted it! Wooohooo! American prisoners will do anything to serve out their sentences in the Jewish State Of Israel. You why? Because The Jewish State is different – the most moral State on the face of the planet.

          Am Yisrael Chai!

          Reply to Comment
    11. Brian

      Chemi Shalev:

      http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/.premium-1.622603

      … The Rubicon was crossed after the Six Day War when being anti-Zionist morphed into becoming anti-Jewish, though ultra-Orthodox Jews and much of pre-1948 American Jewry were understandably exempt. These days, if you support a bi-national state you are also an anti-Semite because you’re trying to eradicate Israel’s Jewish identity (with historical exceptions being made, once again, for the likes of Judah Magnes, Martin Buber and Henrietta Szold). If you judge Israel by higher standards than, say, Syria or North Korea, then you’re a suspect, especially if you think The New York Times coverage of the Middle East is fair and balanced; if you say the words “apartheid,” “oppression” or “ethnic” anything in any context; if you support the division of Jerusalem, to which Jews have prayed since forever; if you think Jews can’t live wherever they like – if you oppose their inherent “American-values property rights,” as Prime Minister Netanyahu put it recently – then you are surely a hater, but if you insist that Palestinians should also have the same rights then you are immediately upgraded to the foam-in-the-mouth division.

      If you think the Gaza war was wrong, if you believe far too many civilians were killed by excessive use of force, if you criticize the Israeli government’s or public’s lack of empathy for Palestinian suffering, and especially if you make any of the above assertions without swearing in advance that it’s all their own fault – you’re a potential anti-Semite. And even if you’re Jewish but you adhere to any one of the above – you’re still an anti-Semite. You might even be described as a self-hating Jewish anti-Semite, which is a mind-numbing oxymoron in and of itself.

      … The fusion of Israel-criticism and anti-Semitism has given the Israeli right a kind blank check, a no-fault guarantee for its policies on peace and settlements, especially among Jews in Israel and America….

      When I was growing up, being a Zionist entailed a belief in the negation of the Diaspora, physically and psychologically. Zionism was supposed to rid the Jews of all the hang-ups, fears and paranoias of their persecuted past and to place them on an equal emotional footing with other “normal” nations. It certainly felt that way, at least for a while, and I remember how we used to make fun of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim quarter who seemed to be living in perpetual fear that the next pogrom was just around the corner. Increasingly it seems that Jews everywhere have joined their agitated ranks, muttering oy vey all day as they go about our business. You can take the Jew out of the shtetl, as someone once said, but you can’t take the shtetl out of the Jew.

      The irony is that by capitalizing on Jewish fears, by exploiting their history-hardened tendency to see an anti-Semite lurking behind every corner, by instilling in them the sense that the creation of the strong and modern State of Israel has done nothing to change the existential state of the Jews, the right wing and its supporters are carrying out the most anti-Zionist campaign of them all. By their own definition, therefore, they too are anti-Semites, and big time at that.

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    12. The inevitable has happened, the lunatics are running the asylum. The biggest israeli export are pathological liars. Am Yisrael Chai sounds just like “One People, One Fatherland, One Fuhrer”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        They sell very strong, yet extremely cheap ropes in the supermarkets. Buy one and go hang your useless self!

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        • Brian

          Spoken like a true pogromist! I shall mark it down in my files on you! LoL!

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    13. Brian

      You just have to go into one of two modes or both at the same time:
      1. Anthropological/sociological mode and observe the neo-fascists with detachment. It’s a learning experience.
      2. Comic satire mode. They are SO easy to make fun of. Fascists and their ideological cousins have always been humorless. Hitler’s Germany could never have created Monty Python.
      Just don’t imagine there’s any reasonable conversation to be has with them. (Don’t feed the trolls.). You’d think this site would be about exploring creative ways to tackle the problems +972’s writers identify but the trolls here work ceaselessly to derail conversation to meaningless “debates” about right wing nonsense and erected straw men. They are derailment specialists. Down with derailment!

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      • It would be really hilarious if it was only a rarity but the fact that the trolls all speak the same language, the same way, with the same violence, it seems that coming to this website is like a visit to a Kahane pep rally. Apparently there is no moderation here at all, which is okay, we’re supposedly all adults and should be able to moderate ourselves, but apparently not. You know how the right love to gin up support for occupation and “mowing the lawn” by talking about how dangerous it is for the Jews and israel is the only safe haven? They apparently think that no matter how violent they are, how many men, women and children they incarcerate or murder, that the people they are killing are just supposed to be “quiet” and take it? They kill outright or the slow death of stripping people of their identity and personhood. They will never have peace because they don’t want it. Netanyahu, Bennett, Shaked, Feiglin, et al, speak the language of hatred and violence. They need to be shunned, much like Ayalon was in his last latest visit to the states, except x1000. BDS is going strong and God-willing, because it is right and nonviolent, will continue to help bring the sins of this guilty land to the forefront of international discussion and with that, an international response to zionist state.

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        • Brian

          Well said. Yes,

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    14. I mean Ya’alon. I see his name and always think of the freeway – my bad!

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    15. Michael McEvoy

      The Strappado is not known as “Palestinian hanging” for no reason. It is used by Israel to torture Palestinian prisoners.

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