Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
PCATI regularly circulates unverifiable allegations of Israeli torture, using them as the basis for campaigns of demonization in international forums.
|Founded||1990, based in Jerusalem.|
|In their own words||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 2020, total income was NIS 1.9 million; total expenses were NIS 1.8 million.
- Donors include: EU, Germany, Dignity (Denmark), Cordaid (Netherlands), ICCO (Netherlands), Kvinna till Kvina (Sweden), UNDP and others.
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, PCATI received NIS 16,063,461 from foreign governmental bodies in 2012-2021. (See chart below for detailed funding information).
- According to annual reports, donations from foreign governments comprised 83.6% of total donations from 2017-2019.
- In 2018-2021, PCATI received $149,924 from the Open Society Foundation.
- In 2015-2020, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $277,082 to PCATI.
- Regularly circulates unverifiable allegations of Israeli torture, using them as the basis for campaigns in international forums and Israeli courts.
- In February 2022, PCATI signed a joint statement welcoming the report published by Amnesty International accusing Israel of apartheid. According to the statement, “The debate around the crime of apartheid of which Israel is accused, and its geographical scope, is not only legitimate, but absolutely necessary. We wholeheartedly reject the idea that Amnesty International’s report is baseless, singles out Israel or displays antisemitic animus.”
- In October 2021, PCATI was a signatory on a joint statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “The Minister of Defense’s designation of prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, among them our colleagues in the Palestinian human rights community, as terrorist organizations, is a draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work.”
- In June 2020, Executive Director of PCATI Rachel Stroumsa participated in a webinar titled “A Travesty of Justice: Palestinian Child Prisoners and Israeli Military Justice” that discussed the “role and impact of military justice on Palestinians and its function in Israel’s occupation.” The webinar contained multiple distortions and omissions. See the NGO Campaign to Exploit Children’s Rights for more information.
- In October 2019, PCATI sent a letter to Hadassah Hospital “urging the institution not to release Samer Arbid for continued ISA interrogation for fear he would be subjected to torture.”
- Samer Arbid is currently on trial for commanding the PFLP terror cell that carried out the murder of Rena Shnerb. According to the indictment against him (on file), Arbid prepared and detonated the explosive device. In August 2020, the PFLP published a statement referring to Arbid as a “prisoner and commander” and “one of the heroes of the Bubeen operation” – referring to the August 2019 bombing.
- In May 2015, PCATI contributed information to the United Nations Human Rights Councils Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza War. According to the UN, PCATI made allegations regarding the “torture and ill-treatment of adults and children.”
- Published a statement, “Childhood is not a Privilege but a Right!,” inaccurately alleging that Israeli authorities place Palestinian “prisoners in iron cages (including children)” (emphasis added) (originally published December 31, 2013; revised January 8, 2014).
- Issued a June 2013 joint statement with other politicized NGOs Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, in light of “UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,” alleging that “Impunity and a lack of accountability continue to characterise the relationship of Israel’s security services with civilians” and maintaining ongoing “torture-related policies and practices against Palestinian prisoners and detainees.”
- Co-authored a 2011 report, “Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim,” together with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, claiming to “reveal… significant evidence arousing the suspicion that many doctors ignore the complaints of their patients; that they allow Israel Security Agency interrogators to use torture; approve the use of forbidden interrogation methods and the ill-treatment of helpless detainees; and conceal information, thereby allowing total impunity for the torturers.” The report utilizes unreliable sources, including “testimonies” from individuals convicted or suspected of security offenses and terrorism; presents inconsistent recommendations; erases the context of terrorism in the actions of security forces; and does not provide a lexical, legal, or consistent definition for the key terms “torture” and “ill-treatment.”
- 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.”
- In May 2009, 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’s activities regularly extend far beyond the specifics of its mission statement, such as signing onto NGO petitions wholly unrelated to torture.
- Signed a 2009 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 Israeli officials.
- CEO Dr. Yishai Menuhin, previously the spokesperson for Yesh Gvul and a Hadash party candidate for the 17th Knesset, 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.”
- Member of the “Legal Taskforce,” together with other NGOs (including HaMoked, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Yesh Din, Addameer, Norwegian Refugee Council), which seeks to “employ lawyers and have legal action strategies in the struggle against the occupation.”
- PCATI is a member of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). The FIDH, which is funded by multiple European governments, is a major leader of BDS campaigns worldwide. The group, composed of 178 member organizations, supported campaigns including the BDS campaign against Orange (2015), promoted the EU product labeling guidelines, and participated in the NGO campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel following the 2014 Gaza War.
- Member of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), a Geneva based coalition of NGOs comprising 311 local, national and regional organizations “fighting against arbitrary detention, torture, summary and extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances and other forms of violence.”
- In July 2020, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) urged the Israeli authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Salah Hamouri, and to put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him and his family.” The PFLP has referred to Hamouri as a “comrade.” Hamouri works as a field researcher and lawyer for the Palestinian NGO Addameer, an “affiliate” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group. In 2005, Salah Hamouri was arrested and convicted for “attempting to assassinate Ovadia Yosef…and for his involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
Foreign donations (amounts in NIS)
2018-2021 amounts based on financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits
|Dignity (Danish Institute Against Torture)||284,085||179,106||247,701||392,998|
|Turkish Human Rights Foundation||99,698||384,071||525,487|
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