SAVE THE ZOA!

Steve Goldberg
Steve Goldberg

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.

 

Ensure a Fair Election!

Many of you have asked how you can vote for ZOA President.

Unfortunately, National Chairman Michael Goldblatt and National Executive Director David Drimer have misinterpreted the Constitution and sent out a decree that voters must be physically present at the ZOA National Convention in Philadelphia from Sunday, March 9 – Monday, March 10, an inconvenient time and location for people who do not live in the immediate area.

For the ZOA not to allow voting by means of tele-conferencing skews the election in clear favor of current President Mort Klein since his loyal friends live in Philadelphia, his hometown. Those who made the decision have argued that Philadelphia is less expensive than Manhattan, but if affordability and fairness were the issue, they would have chosen a locale equidistant from the East and West Coast.

The ZOA leadership has argued that the Constitution requires voters to be present. This is false, since the ZOA board meets most often by conference call. ZOA members should be able to “register” and be “present” on-line or by proxy. The board members are “present” and vote by phone. The same rule should apply to voting at the Convention.

The ZOA leadership has also cited that having voters present ensures fairness and prevents impropriety, yet it is unfair and improper for an organization that wants to be considered a national one to limit participation in its Convention only to those who are able to fly to Philadelphia on a Sunday and Monday. For many members, this means missing work.

Assuming this decision does not change, Mort Klein will NOT have legitimacy as the president of the ZOA, which will have become even more of a tin-pot dictatorship than it already is with employees continuing to be subjected to his bullying tactics and capriciousness.

Mort Klein should agree to debate his opponent publicly before the Convention. It is painfully apparent he is worried that he will demonstrate that he is unfit to lead a national organization of such importance, and that he is incapable of answering difficult questions, particularly about receiving large increases in salary without ZOA board approval at a time when the ZOA’s annual revenues were collapsing.

Further, whoever decided to stack the deck in Mort Klein’s favor by preventing ZOA members from voting from out town should allow an open, inclusive election that will reveal the preference of the majority of ZOA members.

CALL TO ACTION!

Please contact David Drimer and Michael Goldblatt demanding a level playing field of inclusiveness and that you be allowed to vote either by proxy or remotely. Please cc either Steve Goldberg or Paul Schnee to ensure your e-mail has been counted and received.

Mort Klein: Top Five Overpaid Jewish Professionals

In the world of Jewish not-for-profits, some executives are above average. Or, at least, above average in compensation.

A new list of overpaid heads of Jewish organizations is made up of well-known names, each viewed by his board members as being exceptional, and each compensated exceptionally well. According to an independent analysis of Forward data, the list includes, in ascending order, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America and Matthew Brooks, who runs the Republican Jewish Coalition.

READ MORE IN THE FORWARD

 

Mort Klein’s Abuse of Employees

During the buildup to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza last year, the Zionist Organization of America and its outspoken national president, Morton Klein, spearheaded opposition to the plan among right-wing American Jews. At the same time that he was juggling Middle Eastern politics, however, Klein also was facing down a lawsuit from his ghostwriter and top adviser and a labor grievance from the organization’s longtime receptionist.

The ZOA, a storied century-old organization, employs fewer than 20 people, but the two recent complaints are only the latest of a raft of workplace problems for Klein — problems that many inside the organization say he has caused. Klein was elected national president of the ZOA in 1993. Since then he has assumed almost complete control of the organization, staying in office thanks to a constitutional change that allows him to remain president indefinitely.

During his tenure, Klein has turned the ZOA into arguably the most prominent American opponent of Israeli territorial concessions and American aid to the Palestinians, with fiery speeches, endless press releases, frequent newspaper opinion pieces and intense lobbying in Washington. He has won over such big-name donors as Lowell Milken, brother of famous junk-bond trader Michael Milken. But interviews with more than a dozen former employees and board members indicate that Klein’s tenacity and control of the organization can make working for the ZOA a sometimes unnerving and unhappy experience.

Continue reading Mort Klein’s Abuse of Employees

Mort Klein Gets 38% Pay Hike

The Zionist Organization of America’s president received a 38% raise in the years that the group failed to disclose its finances to the Internal Revenue Service, according to documents obtained by the Forward.

The IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of the hawkish Israel advocacy group in February after the organization missed three consecutive years of tax filings, the Forward revealed.

ZOA National President Morton Klein earned $315,385 in 2007, the last year for which filings are publicly available. His base compensation in 2011 was $435,050.

READ MORE IN THE FORWARD

 

Because Israel needs strong and ethical Jewish leaders