We spoke with Hussein Ibish -- a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine ... a D.C.-based org. that's dedicated to creating a Palestinian state that can peacefully coexist with Israel.
Dwight Howard should NOT have apologized for tweeting #FreePalestine over the weekend ... so says a powerful Palestinian interest group who says Dwight's message was "humanitarian" in nature.
Ibish tells us, "It seems fantastically mean-spirited that people would have a problem with what [Dwight] said. It was a very vague, humanitarian message. It's an unobjectionable value."
As we previously reported, Howard quickly deleted the tweet ... and apologized for getting involved in international politics.
"I understand why a sports star would delete the message and not want to get involved in such a serious issue," Ibish says ... "but what takes me back is that [Dwight] simply wished freedom for Palestinians. I don't understand the offense."
When we asked about Rihanna -- who also tweeted and deleted #FreePalestine -- Ibish said, "The entertainers should probably entertain us, and let the policy makers deal with the conflict."