The ZOA, under National President Mort Klein, has suffered unacceptably high turnover of valuable employees. The Forward has chronicled mistreatment of ZOA employees as early as 2006. Unfortunately, the pattern of bullying continues until today. The culture of fear, intimidation, and employee turnover under Mr. Klein derails ZOA from its mission and prevents employees from giving their best. For the ZOA to realize its full potential, employees must be treated fairly. Vote for Steve Goldberg to ensure the dedicated Zionists at ZOA can thrive. Learn more through this video.
On Sept. 11, the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) board of directors met in New York and overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressing confidence in the organization’s direction and in the leadership of Morton Klein, its president of 19 years.
The vote came less than a day after a news report that ZOA had had its tax-exempt status revoked as far back as May 2011 for failing to file three consecutive years of key financial documents with the Internal Revenue Service.
Only one board member present at the meeting, ZOA National Vice Chair Steven Goldberg, voted against the resolution. Goldberg, a Los Angeles resident, told the Journal that he believes ZOA’s loss of tax-exempt status points to larger problems with the 115-year-old educational and advocacy nonprofit. In an interview on Sept. 12, Goldberg insisted Klein must be replaced for the ZOA to move forward.
Over the past two years, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton Klein has had to defend himself against three lawsuits from two different fired employees, as well as to weather the temporary loss of his organization’s tax-exempt status and to undergo heart surgery. At the end of 2013, he earned the dubious distinction of being named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one the five most “overpaid” leaders of Jewish organizations.
Now, for the first time since 1993, when he unseated then incumbent president James Schiller, Klein is facing a challenge to his leadership of the 117-year-old hawkish pro-Israel organization. Steven Goldberg, a Los Angeles-based attorney, is actively campaigning to unseat Klein at the board election to be held at the ZOA’s upcoming convention in March.
Goldberg, who was nominated in 2010 to his current position as vice chair of the ZOA’s national board by Klein at the organization’s last convention, announced his candidacy in a YouTube video released on Jan. 21.
“I care about Israel and the Jewish people, and I believe the ZOA is a vitally important organization that really occupies a unique space in Jewish activism and the pro-Israel community,” Goldberg told the Journal in a recent interview. “But unless changes are made, the ZOA, which has existed since 1897, is not going to last much longer.”
The ZOA is a vital and unique organization. Mort Klein has been the president for approximately 20 years,a very long time for one man to be in charge of such an important organization. Unfortunately, under his leadership, the ZOA has been shrinking over the past few years and is in danger of becoming irrelevant or of disappearing altogether. The ZOA has become sclerotic and desperately needs new blood.
For the first time in two decades, someone is challenging Mort Klein’s reign. ZOA National Chairman Steve Goldberg is running for ZOA President at the ZOA National Convention in Philadelphia on March 9-10, 2014.
Who is Steve Goldberg? His a prominent Los Angeles based attorney who has been active in Jewish causes for decades. He believes:
– in a strong and independent Israel that does not take orders from the international community, even the United States.
-Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people and should be officially annexed, just like all of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights were annexed after the Six Day War.
-the Oslo Accords were a tragic mistake, as were the abandonment of southern Lebanon in the year 2000 and the forced expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in 2005.
-the so-called two state solution was doomed to fail from the outset and should be declared dead and then buried–permanently.
-Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jewish nation, and Israel’s claim to the land is rock solid. It is based on the bible, history and international law, including the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Conference, the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations, and Chapter 80 of the U.N. Charter.
-To those who want to create a Palestinian state, I say one already exists. It’s called Jordan. But Israel should not be called upon to create another one by carving up its own homeland. That would be morally wrong and strategically stupid.
Under Mr. Klein’s leadership, the ZOA has taken the position of “not now” with respect to a Palestinian state. The ZOA has called attention to Palestinian incitement of hatred against Israel and the Jews, and the absence of a partner for peace, as reasons why now is not the time for the creation of a Palestinian state.
There should be no Palestinian state carved from Eretz Yisrael ever, as a matter of right and as a matter of survival. The ZOa must show leadership on this issue. The Israelis are worried that the Americans insist on the mirage of a two state solution. If we can help educate American Jews, Christian friends of Israel and American political leaders that there can never be a two state solution, the Israelis will see they have international support. It won’t be easy. It will take a sustained effort, and we will be attacked. But we have right, history and logic on our side, and it is important to stand up for the Jewish state without apology and without fear. It’s a start.
Of course Iran is also a grave threat. The Obama Administration is more concerned about stopping an Israeli military attack on Iran than on preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Diplomacy won’t work, and sanctions, while justified and even necessary, won’t be enough. Only military action will stop Iran from going nuclear. We know the United States will not do anything, even though Iran is a threat to the U.S. and indeed the entire Western world. So Israel will need to take preemptive military action to defend its people. The ZOA should begin efforts now to shore up support for Israel in the U.S. Congress and among the American people when this happens. We cannot wait until it is too late, just as Israel can’t wait.
To take these positions and be effective the ZOA needs to be strong and healthy. Right now it’s not. Watch Steve’s videos in which he explains what has gone wrong with the ZOA, why, and what he proposes to do to rejuvenate this very important organization.
Because Israel needs strong and ethical Jewish leaders