ZOA’s Sham Election is Over

The ZOA’s convention on March 9, 2014 was every bit the sham that “Save the ZOA” predicted.

Mort Klein and his cronies had hand-picked delegates who were known to be personal friends of his. Spouses of friendly delegates were added to increase Mort Klein’s tally even if they were not on the ZOA membership list. The vote of the sham convention was 115-9. Frankly, Steve Goldberg was surprised to get even that many votes.

Mort Klein was allowed to speak for 45 minutes in the morning and then for 17 minutes in the afternoon while Steve was given just the 17 minutes in the afternoon. The Convention did not provide any time for debate.

Steve was repeatedly heckled and interrupted during his speech. Alan Mazurek, the Chair of the Convention, who was supposed to be scrupulously neutral, led a chant of “We Want Mort” after Mort Klein’s speech but before Steve’s. The elderly delegates who supported Mort Klein attempted to join the chant but lacked the stamina to maintain it for more than a few seconds.

During Mort Klein’s second speech, he cried repeatedly. The speech was largely a re-hash of old slanderous charges against Steve. There was one new outrageously false charge. Mort Klein actually said that Steve telephoned him and urged him to commit suicide. Bizarre as it may seem, most of the audience actually seemed to believe it.

“The treatment I received at this convention was equivalent to the treatment Israel receives in the United Nations,” Steve remarked. “When I was speaking, I felt like I was addressing the inpatients in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ only older.”

Mort Klein, his cronies, and the convention gave no consideration whatsoever to the wishes of the majority of ZOA members across the country, who were disenfranchised because they could not physically be in Philadelphia.

“I’m gratified that I won the votes of the vast majority of ZOA members,” Steve added. “It’s a disgrace that loyal ZOA members who have donated time, energy, and money have been disenfranchised.”

Mort Klein may have been reappointed President by his friends, but he has no legitimacy from the membership, and the ZOA’s credibility is further stained as a result. There is no hope for the ZOA becoming an effective pro-Israel organization again until Mort Klein and his rubber-stamp board have left the scene.

Steve Goldberg looks forward to continuing his pro-Israel advocacy in more effective ways, including as an Israeli citizen.

San Diego Jewish World Covers Straw Poll

ZOA challenger Goldberg claims straw poll victory

Posted on 05 March 2014.

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO– Steven Goldberg, a Los Angeles attorney who is  national vice chairman of the Zionist Organization of America, claims he has overwhelming support in a straw poll of the ZOA membership to replace Morton A. Klein as the organization’s president.

Conducted over a three-day period, and sent to 1,099 members with an email address on record, ZOA’s national constituency favored him over Klein by a margin of 78% to 22%, according to a release e-mailed to media by Goldberg.

In response to a reporter’s inquiry, Goldberg said the actual number of votes “was 92/26 in my favor. The ballot was sent to all ZOA members who have e-mail addresses (1099). The vast majority are simply no longer active or interested. I sent the ZOA e-mail list to Survey Monkey and they sent it out. The question was simply, ‘Who is your choice for ZOA President?’ They were given two options, Steve Goldberg and Mort Klein.”

Elizabeth Berney, a campaign volunteer from Great Neck, N.Y.,  and spokeswoman for Klein, said the email list in question represented about 4 percent of the ZOA membership and could not be considered representative of members’ actual opinions.  She said an invitation to answer the survey question was included as a link in a campaign letter sent out by Goldberg in which he made many charges against Klein, all of which she described as false.  She said many friends and supporters of Klein, after receiving the survey, decided not to participate because it seemed to them to be unfair.

Read more in San Diego Jewish World

The Jewish Week

ZOA’s Klein Getting Challenge From The Right

Vote set for Sunday is first real test for longtime president; rival cites ideological and fiduciary issues.

03/07/14
Stewart Ain
Staff Writer
Morton Klein
Morton Klein

Morton Klein, who for the last 20 years has been the right-wing voice of the pro-Israel camp in the United States as president of the Zionist Organization of America, is for the first time being challenged for re-election by a board member who claims Klein is not right-wing enough. The election is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Steven Goldberg, ZOA’s national chairman and a Los Angeles attorney, wants to unseat Klein because he believes Klein may one day be willing to give parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians for their own homeland.

“It’s not a territorial issue, it’s a religious issue,” Goldberg said. “It’s antithetical to the fundamental Islamic tenets to have a Jewish state on what is considered to be holy Muslim land. You can’t say that maybe under the right circumstances we’ll compromise and give it [the West Bank] away.”

Read more in the Jewish Week.

Jewish Daily Forward

For 20 years, Mort Klein has served as National President of the Zionist Organization of America, a right-leaning Israel advocacy group with a venerable history. But on Sunday, Klein will face the first election challenge of his presidency when ZOA members meet to vote on granting him another term as Steven Goldberg challenges him for the position.

The issues at stake do not involve the group’s political direction. Both men stand firmly on the right end of the Zionist political spectrum and are, among other things, deeply suspicious of the current U.S.-brokered Middle East peace process and of the two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians that is endorsed by Israel and the Jewish establishment.

But the contest has grown into a bitter feud following the group’s short-term loss under Klein of its tax-exempt status for failing to file tax documents with the IRS for three years, as first reported by the Forward.

Jewish Voice: Tensions Simmer in Scandel-ridden ZOA

The Jewish Voice of New York has covered the election, here.

Throughout its 117-year history, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has endured its share of successes and failures, but throughout it all, the hawkish group always emerged as a stalwart voice for a strong and unified Israel. These days, however, the organization has been riddled with stinging scandals. Currently, it is still reeling from their imbroglio with the IRS and the fact that their tax-deductible status was revoked.  According to The Forward, the ZOA’s current tax trouble began in May 2011, when the organization failed to file its 2008, 2009 and 2010 Form 990s, the tax documents that the IRS requires exempt groups to file annually.

All 501(c)3s must file their 990s within 11.5 months from the end of their fiscal year. Recent legislation has allowed the IRS to automatically revoke a group’s exempt status after missing three consecutive years of filings.

During this same time period the salary of the organization’s president increased a whopping 38%. Despite this fact, in May of 2013, the organization’s tax-deductible status was reinstated, but a multitude of questions still remain unanswered.

Read more in the Jewish Voice.

 

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