From 2005-2015, T’ruah served as the leading Jewish voice working to end state-sponsored torture in the United States. The Honor the Image of God: Stop Torture Now campaign organized the Jewish community to oppose the torture of detainees held in the U.S. War on Terror and the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects. This campaign responded to the shocking revelations about the use of torture by American interrogators and troops in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan. These instances were not the work of a few individual personnel, but part of a profound shift in American foreign policy about the legal limits of interrogation techniques and about the rights of detainees. What was once unthinkable–that America would use torture as an interrogation technique and justify its use under convoluted readings of American and international law– became policy, as the authorizations for torture went up to the highest levels of government.
T’ruah also became one of the founders of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. T’ruah’s formal anti-torture campaign ended in 2015 when the Senate released a partial Torture Report (Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program), finally exposing details of the CIA’s torture program. Today, the values that inspired this work on torture inspire us to work to end the use of prolonged solitary confinement in American prisons and jails, a practice defined by international law experts as torture.
However, even though President Obama officially ended torture via Executive Order in 2009, the next administration has threatened to restore the practice. We continue to monitor this situation.