Friday, May 04, 2007

Israelis No. 1 in Supporting Torture

This is from the 'it's news to me' file: According to a scientific poll conducted for the BBC last year in 25 countries, citizens of the Jewish state had the highest level of agreement with the statement: "Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should now be allowed to use some degree of torture if it may gain information that saves innocent lives."
The largest percentage endorsing torture was found in Israel. Forty-three percent say some degree of torture should be allowed, though slightly more (48%) think the practice should be prohibited. Israeli responses vary significantly by religion. A majority of Jewish respondents (53%) favor allowing governments to use torture to obtain information while 39 percent want clear rules against it. In contrast, Muslims in Israel (who represented 16 percent of total responses in that country) are overwhelmingly (87%) against any use of torture.
This is, no doubt, good news to the thugs in the Shin Bet--the Israeli domestic secret police--who routinely torture Arabs with the complicity of Israeli courts, prosecutors, and the public, not to mention the 'international community.'

According to the December, 2006, report of the United Against Torture Coalition to Combat Torture in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: "Under Israeli criminal law, there is no specific offence of torture." The Supreme Court of Israel functionally legalized torture in its 1999 ruling in The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel vs. The Government of Israel et al. Only India and Russia did worse in terms of opposition to torture with only 48% of Israelis agreeing that "Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights standards against torture."

Israel is, indeed, a "light unto the nations"--a flashing red light--or as Norman Finkelstein and others put it, a "blight unto the nations."

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