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Friday, June 27, 2008

Israel's "Physicians for Human Rights" make stuff up

Reuters reports:
Israel's Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) group accused Israeli doctors on Thursday of ignoring what it described as the torture of Palestinian detainees during interrogations.

The PHR said its findings were based on testimony from two Palestinians who developed trauma-related symptoms, such as weak hearing, panic attacks and incontinence during and after their detention.

Israel said those findings were "fraught with mistakes, groundless claims and inaccuracies".

Palestinian prisoners undergo medical examinations before, during and after their interrogation, but doctors in detention facilities fail to report such symptoms, making them complicit in "prisoner torture", the PHR said in a statement.

PHR Executive Director Hadas Ziv told Reuters her organization's findings were also based on reports by other Israeli human rights groups.

Last year, two groups, B'Tselem and HaMoked, said they had found Israeli security interrogators routinely mistreat and sometimes physically torture Palestinian detainees.

The PHR urged the Health Ministry in a letter to forbid doctors from participating in interrogations carried out by Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet.
I found the original PHR Israel report, strangely only as a link to a Word document on their home page.

One would be generous to say that their arguments are flimsy. Here, in brief, is their proof that physicians are complicit in torture:

1) We hear that torture exists. Not from any physicians, mind you, but from a couple of alleged victims and other "human rights" groups who also get their information from the same alleged victims.

2) We know that physicians are employed by the Israel Prison Service and that others have seen these patients in emergency rooms.

3) None of them corroborate any of these allegations of torture.

4) Therefore, the allegations must be true and the hundreds of physicians who don't say a word must be afraid of losing their jobs, or guilty of racism, or supportive of torture.

There is not an iota of proof, or even logic, behind this report. It is purely an attempt to try to add relevance to the PHR organization itself. It is an absurd conspiracy theory that lacks even the shreds of evidence that most such theories use.

Ironically, it also indicates that most Israeli physicians consider IHR a joke, as the IHR cannot even find a single left wing doctor one with first-hand knowledge to support their theory.

Reuters, of course, is only too happy to parrot their claims.