CAMERA Prompts Better AP Coverage on B’Tselem Report

Israel’s Justice Ministry has issued a nine-page letter in response to a report released yesterday by B’Tselem and Hamoked alleging that the Israel Security Agency regularly tortures Palestinian detainees in violation of a 1999 High Court ruling. The ministry faults the reports methodology and accuracy, pointing out that the allegations are solely based on the claims of unidentified Palestinians. It goes on to detail specific inaccuracies.

The Associated Press, however, had today reported that the ministry’s response did not elaborate on the report’s “mistakes, groundless claims and inaccuracies.” In response to CAMERA’s communication pointing out that the ministry did provide specific examples of problems with the report, the AP later issued a more accurate characterization of the ministry’s response. The original and later versions of the AP story follow:

Error (AP, Steve Weizman, 5/7/07): Israel’s Justice Ministry, which received a copy of the [B’Tselem] report, said in response that Shin Bet interrogations are “performed in accordance with the law.” The report is “fraught with mistakes, groundless claims and inaccuracies,” the ministry said, without elaborating.

Correction (5/7/07): The report is “fraught with mistakes, groundless claims and inaccuracies,” the ministry said, but added that it could not give a detailed rebuttal to the allegations of illegal interrogation methods “due to confidentiality reasons.” The ministry did respond specifically to other charges in the report, unequivocally denying that interrogators sought to isolate and alienate prisoners, used bad language in front of them and served intentionally unappetizing food. “This bizarre claim is unfounded and is indicative of the lack of seriousness and tendentiousness of the person claiming it,” the ministry said of the food allegation.

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