Total compensation for 12 years $ 4,963,019
Average compensation for 12 years: $ 413,584
Even if Mort Klein earned zero up until 2001 (which is not the case), his average compensation for 20 years would be $248,150.95 — almost quarter of a million at current nominal value.
Mort Klein’s nephew, Joel Damens, has written the following letterto Steve Goldberg:
Hello, Mr. Goldberg,
As you know I have expressed an interest in joining the ZOA. I have always felt this interest to join an organization that so adamantly fights for the survival of Israel. I must advise that I did not feel comfortable joining the ZOA because of how I was mistreated by the President of the organization, Morton Klein. The video that you posted about the mistreatment of an employee, where Morton Klein did not want an employee of the ZOA to attend the National ZOA dinner convention (because his fiance was African American) resonates deep within me. Such bigotry and treating people as though they are beneath you/subhuman, should not be tolerated in any organization and by any Jew (especially after all the Jews have been through). I agree wholeheartedly in that my uncle fights vigorously for the Jewish people and for the survival of Israel. But, that in and of itself does not make you a good person; in regards to ethics, moral compassion for your fellow man, and unselfish management of a non-profit organization. I believe you have what it takes to lead the ZOA into the future, as outlined in your 7 point plan. I especially like your approach of outreach to younger Jews and hiring more employees to campaign for the cause in lieu of paying the President half a million dollars plus, salary per year. I am publicly calling for change and for Morton Klein to withdraw from this campaign.
“For all of your accomplishments yesterday and today, will not be remembered if you leave a trail of destruction in your path through the mistreatment of your fellow man. Ethics and moral compassion above all else will always prevail!”
Mort Klein is becoming increasingly desperate that he is on the verge of losing his 20-year grip on the ZOA. It appears he has beseeched his old friend Caroline Glick, a well respected Israeli thinker and writer, to write a column endorsing him for reelection. Glick then wrote a column that is lukewarm at best and damns Klein with faint praise. Nevertheless, the bottom line is she did endorse him, albeit grudgingly.
If you want to know what Caroline Glick really thinks about Mort Klein when she is not under pressure, see this unsolicited e-mail she wrote to Steve Goldberg back in November of 2012 upon learning of Mort Klein’s decision to terminate a loyal, dedicated and talented employee who objected to Klein’s illegal order not to divulge the ZOA’s loss of its 501c3 status to donors.
From: Caroline Glick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: November 22, 2012 6:02:19 AM PST
Subject: hi from Caroline Glick – confidential
I read with dismay about Orit’s firing and the other related developments in LA and elsewhere within the ZOA. It seems to me that with O’s reelection and the Jewish organizational world’s likely move to the far left that a strong ZOA is more essential now than ever before. What can be done to help?
Is there anything I could do? Also, the only email I have for Orit is her ZOA one. Could you give me her personal email and also send her my good wishes?
Finally, is there a chance that Mort will retire and make room for new leadership for the ZOA?
Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.
Miami activist and candidate for public office, Dave Crystal (CrystalforCommissioner.com) sent out the following letter to ZOA members urging them not to vote for Mort Klein.
Dear fellow Zionists:
Like many of you, I was shocked to have read the recent Newsroom expose on ZOA President Mort Klein. The most disturbing revelation was as follows: “Klein earned $315,385 in 2007, the last year for which filings are publicly available. However, according to the Forward, his base compensation in 2011 was reportedly $435,050. In 2008 alone, Klein’s total compensation was $1,245,851.”
Wow! What a difference a generation makes! Till this day I remember vividly as a young ZOA activist sitting amongst people like you in the ZOA headquarters in New York, engaging in passionate debate as to whether Mort Klein should have any salary at all. Prior to Mort, no president, including my cousin Milton Shapiro, had ever received a formal salary; and, in the case of Milton, if he had been offered one, he would have flatly rejected it on principle.
As a zealous and impressionable (operative term being “impressionable”) young Zionist activist at the University of Pennsylvania
I was not the only one. In retrospect there was an irrational euphoria surrounding Mort Klein. Every right-of-center Zionist who felt ostracized at the time by the mainstream “pro-peace” crowd felt as if Mort Klein was their one true father they could lean on. We would have done anything for him at the time, including destroying the ZOA constitution, allowing him to become dictator for life, and making him the first president in ZOA history to have a formal regular salary. At the time (1996), and with some controversy, we approved his salary of $50,000. Never did we imagine there would come a day where Mort Klein would become a millionaire from what was supposed to be a charitable ideological organization!
Again, I was in love with Mort Klein; and love is irrational. In my college and young professional years I supported him every step of the way and believed he could do no wrong. I thought, he would serve a good 8 to 10 years as President (since we had just destroyed the constitution allowing him to serve more than 4 consecutive years), and dreamt of becoming his successor and making him proud of me for continuing his crusade against the Oslo Accords and PA violations of the same.
Mort appointment me as President of the Young Leadership District of the ZOA in 2000, and I served honorably, increasing membership from our original six to over 180. We organized great events that attracted and galvanized Zionist youth from all over New York. Then suddenly and unpredictably in my third year as president of the YLD, my Zionist world was shattered. I got a call from Mort saying I need to come into his office immediately. I did just that. When I got there I was floored to find out he was removing me from my post as President of the YLD. I asked for an opportunity to defend myself against this false and/or misleading loshon hora, but no such opportunity was granted. Apparently no democratic process is to be honored in the ZOA.
After that incident, I fell into a mild depression, as the ZOA had been such a big part of my life for so many years. I felt as if a big part of my identity had been suddenly and precipitately ripped away. The rose-colored glasses had been taken off and for the first time in my life I began to do research on Mort Klein the man, versus Mort Klein the myth. What I found was an enormous stream of people who he had disappointed or wronged over the years. I was so ashamed of myself for having been duped for so long. It’s amazing what political zeal can do to objectivity.
In that vein, I urge you to be objective as you elect your next ZOA leader, who should not be Mort Klein.
I know Mort Klein very well, and I know how he’s going to respond to this letter. He’s going to tell you that I am irrelevant and that I have not been involved in the ZOA for many years (his doing of course). He’s going to tell you that I have not accomplished much as a Zionist activist in recent years and therefore my opinion is not valid. The truth, of course, is that I would have accomplished much more for the Zionist world if Mort Klein had not railroaded me out of the organization in 2002. With that said, however, I have done a lot for Israel as a private citizen since 2002. That year, I finally published my book, Clinton Versus Israel, the ebook of which you can still find at lulu.com, and lectured on the topic (even receiving honorariums) at at least a dozen universities and Jewish institutions. I am a local political leader in Miami Beach, and even though Israel is not a local political issue, I have used my public persona to defend Israel every step of the way. You can research me at CrystalforCommissioner.com.
I have no personal animus against Mort Klein. At this point, what he did to me is between him and Hashem, not between him and me. I am asking you to replace him because he has not earned the honor of serving 10 consecutive years as ZOA president, let alone 20. I am asking you to replace him because his personal and ethical failings stand as an embarrassment to the entire organization and the Zionist enterprise at large.
It’s time to move on. Perhaps if you choose to do so, I and the younger generations I represent will proudly join your ranks once again.
Mara Kochba, a noted LA activist, received bizarre phone messages from Mort after she sent a group e-mail endorsing Steve Goldberg as a man with “the leadership qualities which Klein sorely lacks: integrity, intellectual honesty, comprehension of the fiscal nuances necessary to build-up, nurture and support a thriving Jewish organization. He is also extremely articulate, has a great sense of humor, and is a very nice human being.” Her subsequent e-mail to Mort is as follows:
Shavua Tov, Mort!
I usually do receive any personal phone calls which disturb my shabbat, but after havdala, I noticed the light blinking on me answering machine.
Imagine my shock when I found two (2) messages from you (and, later, yet another when I turned on my cell phone)!
The vituperative screed of your voice mail message – which I played later for friends – was beyond the pale.
Your irrational accusations, convoluted charges and totally incomprehensible harangue was utterly pitiable.
And all this because I support Steve Goldberg’s candidacy in the forth-coming election (which you have illegally stacked the deck) for the leadership of ZOA.
You are, alas, a pale imitation of what you once were as a leader of a major Jewish organization — which is why ZOA is no longer “major” in anyone’s lexicon.
What you have done — YOU, AND YOU ALONE — is the reason you are no longer fit to head ZOA.
It’s over, Mort.
I realize you cannot comprehend the inevitable: the torch must pass to a new generation that can cope with the challenges which face the Jewish people.
Please do not ever again contact me in any way or I will seek an injunction for harassment.