For Freedom House to downgrade Israel as “less free,” given the reality on the ground, one has to wonder at the non-profit’s objectivity and research capabilities. Was such “lying by omission” simply errors due to sloppy research on the Internet that relied on Palestinian and ISM propaganda websites? Or was it possibly the result of donations from Arab or Muslim special interest groups? Repeated attempts to contact Freedom House about these discrepancies were ignored.
This is not the first time Freedom House has collided with the truth. In 2006, a member of its Board of Trustees, ironically the current president of the Gatestone Institute, resigned over a vote by the Board that would require every report, before being released, to be approved by all members of the Board of Trustees – a form of censorship. The decision was occasioned by a report, “Update: Saudi Arabia’s Curriculum of Intolerance,” written by Nina Shea of the Center for Religious Freedom (then a semi-autonomous a branch of Freedom House, but which also, after the vote, parted company with the organization). Shea’s report was written at the request of Muslims in America who had brought her copies of the official Saudi Textbooks in Islamic schools in America. They claimed they were concerned about the hatred and violence toward people of other religions that was being promoted in these textbooks, and wanted it exposed. After the report was released, however, a member of the Board at the time, Farooq Kathwari, CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc., was apparently approached by Dr. Faroque Khan, a founding member of the Mosque and Islamic Center of Long Island, in Westbury, New York. Khan seems to have determined that Shea’s report did not reflect favorably on the Muslim community and therefore, unlike the Muslims who had originally approached Shea, instead approached Kathwari to see if Shea’s report could be suppressed. The Board evidently agreed with Dr. Khan.
Sadly, the integrity of a once-venerable organization, which claims to promote freedom throughout the world, is now more than suspect, as the supposed guardians of freedom work overtime to empower totalitarian movements and regimes.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.