When Israel banned torture


A former Israel correspondent for The New York Times, Serge Schmemann, recalls Israel’s own debate about torture — and ultimate rejection of it by the Israeli Supreme Court — and what sort of model that presents for the United States:

Reading about the Bush administration’s convoluted attempts to justify torture takes me back to reporting I did 12 years ago on the anguished debate in Israel over its secret service’s use of violence in interrogations. That was two years before the Israeli Supreme Court banned the practice. “This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it,” wrote the president of the court, Aharon Barak.

I had interviewed Justice Barak for my article, and I recall with some shame my righteous certainty in those days that I came from a country that would never stoop to such methods.

Full column here.

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