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Posts Tagged ‘Mort Klein’

Mort Klein Re-Elected as ZOA President

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

At the Hilton on City Line Avenue at the far northwestern edge of Philadelphia county, just across the highway from the tony suburbs of Lower Merion Township, the annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America is taking place today, Sunday, March 9, and tomorrow.

At around mid-day Sunday, the two contenders for the seat of president of ZOA, the incumbent, Mort Klein, and the challenger, Steve Goldberg, spoke to the crowd, setting out the reasons each believes himself best qualified to lead the ZOA.

Klein has been the president of the organization since 1993.

Goldberg has been on the national board of the ZOA for five years, and was the president of the Western Region of the ZOA for a time.

The tallying of the votes cast by the delegates began at about 3:00 p.m. ET and at 3:30 the results were announced. Mort Klein won re-election. The vote was 115 votes for Klein, 9 votes for Goldberg.

Goldberg remarked to Liz Berney, Klein’s campaign manager, “I did better than I thought.”

The campaign was extremely ugly, filled primarily with nasty charges leveled against Klein by Goldberg, and, eventually, a response to those charges and counter charges against Goldberg.

Everyone suffered, including the mission of this important organization.

Now that the votes have been tallied, all the complaints and the boasts should be left behind and the organization should – it must – move forward in a positive direction.

Intemperate Challenger for ZOA, Mort Klein Should Win

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Tomorrow, March 9, there will be an election in Philadelphia of all eligible delegates to the Zionist Organization of America’s annual convention. The delegates will be voting for the person they want to be president, the person they want to lead the oldest Zionist organization in America.

For the first time in more than twenty years, this is a contested election. There are two candidates. One, Mort Klein, has been the president of ZOA since 1993. The other, Steve Goldberg, had been Klein’s protegé and has been, with Klein’s support, a vice president of the ZOA national board for the past five years.

Goldberg filed his candidacy papers for the office of ZOA president five weeks ago, at the last possible moment under the ZOA’s Charter rules. Since that time he has attacked Klein relentlessly.

The issues Goldberg has raised include lack of transparency, disproportionate compensation to Klein and underwhelming fundraising and membership growth.

Some of Goldberg’s charges against Klein are totally without merit. Some are accurate but wildly exaggerated, either in terms of the severity of the problem or the nexus to Klein himself. These include the criticism about ZOA temporarily losing its tax-exempt status and the salary and benefits Klein receives. Others are accurate and need to be addressed.

There must be, as Goldberg suggests, a responsible transition plan put in place for ZOA as quickly as possible. The organization needs to become far more bottom-up, less top-down, and controls should be put in place so that people are adequately mentored, and those at the top have strict term limits. None of these constitute grounds to eject a devoted and highly successful, charismatic leader for an untried upstart whose personal behavior raises huge red flags.

Goldberg has leveled many harsh charges against Klein. After an initial obstinate refusal to engage, Klein and his re-election team lashed out at Goldberg, pointing out previously unknown, but troublesome patterns of behavior and action they say make him unworthy of leading the national organization.

The charges and counter-charges need to be addressed and evaluated. Goldberg’s campaign site is savethezoa.com, and Klein’s is ReelectzoapresidentMortKlein.com.  About the vast majority of those charges, a careful reader should be able to come to her own conclusions; they won’t be addressed here.

But the bottom line question has to be, what will best preserve the ZOA: replacing Klein with Goldberg, or retaining Klein as president.

There is lots of ugliness to go around.

What is there positive to be said? About Steve Goldberg: he is clearly intelligent, he has degrees from fancy schools, he’s been involved in pro-Israel activity for many years, and he’s obviously energetic and creative. What’s more, Goldberg was the president of one of the ZOA district offices, and is a member of the ZOA national board. That shows experience and familiarity with the organization.

There’s much more of a track record for Klein. He took a bankrupt, dying organization, revived it, and turned it into a driving force in the public discourse on Israel and the Middle East conflict. He’s fearlessly captained the ZOA upstream when the rest of the major American Jewish organizations fell into line, one by one, in support of many of the worst self-inflicted disasters to befall Israel over the past twenty years.

Klein opposed Oslo when the popular position was to sign on and believe peace was on its way. Klein emphatically, vigorously fought against the removal of all 9,000 Jews, living and dead, from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria in 2005, when even most of the so-called right wing supporters of Israel supported the “Disengagement.” And Klein has consistently fought against the idea of dividing Jerusalem and of creating a Palestinian state given that the acting leadership of the Palestinian Arabs – like their predecessors – support the annihilation of the Jewish State.

Which Jews Choose (Samantha) Power, Which Won’t

Friday, June 7th, 2013

At least three leading pro-Israel American organizations have come out early and with vigor against the nomination of Samantha Power to become the next United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

The non-partisan Washington D.C.-based Endowment for Middle East Truth, a self-described think tank and policy shop, issued a statement deploring the nomination on Tuesday, June 4,  the same day that the Republican Jewish Coalition did.  The Zionist Organization of America, the oldest Zionist organization in America, was the first out of the starting gate with its long, detailed, public opposition to Power’s nomination on Monday June 3.

And on the other side of the ring we have perhaps the most famous and famously wealthy Jewish organization, the Anti-Defamation League, Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz and rabbi to the Stars and former congressional candidate Shmuley Boteach, all of whom are publicly placing their heckshers on Powers.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said Power “has a record of statements that are very troubling to Americans who support Israel.”

“In 2008, as an academic who taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Samantha Power suggested  that the U.S. should invade Israel militarily to impose a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and protect “a new state of Palestine.” Her writing and public appearances reflected her views that special-interest lobbies in this country (read, the “Israel lobby”) have too great an impact on our foreign policy in the Middle East,” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said in a written statement. “She must respond to the strong doubts about her views raised by that record. Senators should also examine her tenure as head of the President’s Atrocity Prevention Board to see what results, if any, came out of her time there.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is deeply concerned about and opposed to the nomination of Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The overwhelming evidence of her entire record causes us great fear and concern as to her appropriateness for this post. Ms. Power’s record clearly shows that she is viscerally hostile to Israel, regards it as a major human rights abuser, even committing war crimes, and would like to see the weight of American military and financial power go to supporting the Palestinian Authority, not Israel. In contrast, she has spoken of Iran as though it scarcely poses a problem. She also strongly suggested that the U.S. cease worrying about alleged Jewish power and money which allegedly forces the U.S. to support Israel and which allegedly is not in the national interest.

“Samantha Power is clearly the wrong choice for UN Ambassador, particularly at this sensitive juncture in history,” EMET’s President and Founder Sarah Stern wrote in a press release.

“Considering  Power’s openly hostile positions  on Israel as well as her deep seated resentment for the United States, and her biases in favor of the Palestinians despite their continued incitement to hate and to kill Israelis, our one true democratic  ally in the region,  and on the Iranian nuclear program, “she continued, “this appointment shows supporters of Israel that the Obama Administration’s worst instincts are coming to the fore in its second term. It’s deeply distressing.  We  oppose her nomination in the strongest terms possible.”

There are those in the public eye who are frequently considered to have strongly Jewish, pro-Israel positions, who have expressed support for Power.Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the prolific author once known as the “rabbi to the stars” because of his close-relationship with singer Michael Jackson, was won over by Power during a closed meeting between her and “40 Jewish leaders held in the offices of Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.

Boteach described that meeting and his conversion to Power-lover and defender of Power in an article published in the Huffington Post:

Typical of her erudition and brilliance, Samantha presented a sweeping view of American policy in the world’s most dangerous region. Then, she directly addressed the accusations that she harbored animus toward Israel. And in the presence of the leaders of our community, she suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her.

Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.

And the ADL’s national director Abraham Foxman and Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, had this to say:

As the world is sickened by the images of slaughter in Syria and as Israel faces an ever more volatile Middle East, we are heartened that the U.S. will be represented by an individual whose moral resolve and fierce pragmatism will serve our country well.

Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, strongly recommended confirming Powers’ nomination, but the words he chose and the way he used them are worth parsing carefully.  He wrote:

      To be sure, Samantha has said some things she now regrets — about Hillary Clinton, about Israel and about other controversial matters. She says what she thinks when she thinks it.
As the United States representative to the United Nations, she will articulate the policy of the Obama Administration.        She will have to be more diplomatic than she was while in private life. I am confident that she will make our country proud.
I have discussed the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Samantha on many occasions. As a strong supporter of Israel’s security, I have a high level of confidence that she will do and say the right things.
Indeed, because of her sometimes critical attitude toward certain Israeli policies — some of which I agree with, others of which I do not — she will bring added credibility to her positions at the most anti-Israel location in the world other than perhaps, Tehran.

In other words, she has a loose mouth, she’s said things she shouldn’t have, she will need to learn to be a diplomat, but she will be the voice of the Obama administration at the United Nations.  And by the way, her being perceived as anti-Israel is really kinda good for the Jews, right?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/which-jews-choose-samantha-power-which-wont/2013/06/07/

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