BDS IN THE PEWS
Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
May 14, 2010
- Website: http://www.stoptorture.org.il/
- Founded 1990, based in Jerusalem
- PCATI claims to “advocate for all persons - Israelis, Palestinians, labor immigrants and other foreigners in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) – in order to protect them from torture and ill treatment by the Israeli interrogation and law enforcement authorities.”
- In 2006-2009, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $56,388 to PCATI (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009).
- Donors include the European Union, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Finland, UK, and NDC.
- PCATI petitions the Supreme Court regularly: in 2009, petitions involved military prisons, language use in interrogations, harsher prosecution of Israeli soldiers, shackling, among others.
- On July 7, 2009 PCATI attorney Majd Bader testified before the UN Goldstone Commission, where he claimed Israel held Palestinian detainees in ditches. In his testimony, Bader also referred to Palestinian “martyrs” and to Israeli “collective punishment.”
- PCATI also testified (together with OMCT) at the UN’s Committee Against Torture, where it accused Israel of “deliberate and indiscriminate” attacks on “civilians and civilian objects.” The NGO openly admits that these topics “do not per se fall under the [Torture] Convention.”
- PCATI signed a petition submitted to the Spanish government opposing the “resolution that limits the exercise of universal jurisdiction of the Spanish courts.” The resolution was introduced in the Spanish parliament following lawfare cases against several foreign nationals including Chinese, American, and Israeli officials.
- In contrast to extensive campaigns on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, PCATI devotes limited resources to defending the rights of Gilad Shalit.
- PCATI’s activities regularly extend far beyond the specifics of its mission statement, such as signing onto NGO petitions wholly unrelated to torture.
- In December 2006, the Israeli High Court rejected PCATI’s petition on targeted killings, on the grounds of legitimate self-defense against terror.
- CEO Dr. Yishai Menuhin was previously the spokesperson for Yesh Gvul, and was a Hadash party candidate for the 17th Knesset. Menuhin wrote, “if war crimes suspicions are not investigated in Israel, it is appropriate that they be investigated and that justice be served with their perpetrators in different courts.”