The Torture Rule Book

(Los Angeles Times) Ori Nir and Amos Guiora - After being slammed annually in the State Department's human rights report for its abuse of Palestinian detainees, Israel has suddenly become a model in the eyes of many American jurists and politicians. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has repeatedly mentioned the Israel Supreme Court's 1999 ruling, which explicitly banned torture during interrogation of terrorism suspects, as an inspiration for his own measure outlawing torture. Most in Israel's security and political establishment have come to agree with the court's judgment that "a democracy must sometimes fight with one hand tied behind its back." McCain said he had been convinced by Israelis that the rules had not crippled their anti-terrorism efforts. U.S. legal scholars have recently praised the practical activism of Israel's Supreme Court for defining the balance between legitimate national security considerations and equally legitimate civil rights - and for doing so in a time of war. The Pentagon is also seeking Israeli expertise in educating soldiers on how to respect human rights while fighting terrorists in a civilian environment. Ori Nir is the Washington bureau chief of the Forward. Amos Guiora, the director of the Institute for Global Security, Law and Policy at Case Western Reserve University, once served as Commander of the IDF School of Military Law.

2005-11-18 00:00:00

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