Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

The ZOA is horrified, pained and shocked by the defamatory, obscene, hateful, ludicrous error-filled article published last week by Steve Davidson in the Forward Jewish Weekly in which ZOA President Morton Klein, a child of Holocaust survivors, born in a displaced persons camp in Germany, was listed number 6 (with Jew-killers/Jew-haters ) of “19 people Jews should actually be more worried about than Linda Sarsour.”

It’s significant to note that Klein has received Hadassah’s Myrtle Wreath Award, Brith Shalom’s Humanitarian Award for “outstanding dedication to fighting indifference, intolerance and injustice”,  the Holocaust Humanitarian Award, Defender of Israel Award, US State Departments Certificate of Appreciation Award for “outstanding contributions to national and international affairs and as distinguished lecturer,” the Jabotinsky Award, Akiba Hebrew Day School National Zionist Leadership Award, and AIPAC’s Certificate of Appreciation  for “distinguished service for demonstrated leadership on behalf of a strong and secure US-Israel relationship.”


The Jewish Exponent listed Klein as one of the top 12 “activist Jews of the Century.”

Morton Klein painfully remarked, “My 95-year-old mother, a Holocaust survivor who lost most of her family due to the most anti-Semitic horror in history, called me crying when she was made aware of this devastating article listing me with the most monstrous Jew haters and Jew-killers of our era. She was hysterically crying in fear for my safety and reputation because of this insane article. She said it reminded her of the hideous Nazi propaganda against Jews during the Holocaust period.”

Eminent Harvard Law professor and prominent liberal Alan Dershowitz wrote “[the] Forward published the most despicable article ever in Jewish media. Lists Mort Klein, President of ZOA, along w/ David Duke and Farrakhan…”

Others on the list alongside Zionist leader Morton Klein include Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah; Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme leader; Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the terrorist group Hamas. All of them have called for destruction of the Jewish State of Israel and the murder of Jews. Also included are all “actual violent jihadists”.

The Forward newspaper/Davidson has destroyed its own credibility by promoting major falsehoods in this article and by including Zionist, pro-Jewish, child of Holocaust survivors, president of the oldest pro-Israel organization Morton Klein on a par with the most monstrous Jew haters and Jew-killers of our era! The Forward falsely stated that Morton Klein is more dangerous to Jews than anti-Semite, Israel-hater, pro-BDS extremist Linda Sarsour.

Forward/Davidson Falsehoods Against Klein/ZOA

The Forward/Davidson wrote:

  1. “Klein has embraced and defended alt-right figures like Bannon and Gorka for their unabashedly pro-Israel at any costs position.”

False: Mort Klein defended them against the lies that Bannon is anti-Semitic and Gorka is a neo-Nazi – Because they’re not!

  1. Klein is “cozying up to anti-Semitic forces if it advances the ZOA’s ardent Zionist goals.”

False: Mort Klein has never cozied up to anti-Semitic forces – He exposes and fights anti-Semites. That’s part of his job. After all, he is a child of Holocaust survivors having lost most of his family to the worst anti-Semitic horror in history.

  1. ZOA is “an ostensibly Jewish Organization.”

False:  “Ostensibly” means stated, alleged but not necessarily true. Calling ZOA “ostensibly” a Jewish organization is more than misleading the reader from the factual truth. You may not agree with ZOA’s policies but we are unquestionably “Jewish.” ZOA is the oldest pro-Jewish State of Israel organization in America founded in 1897, with an almost total Jewish membership. All of our major donors are Jewish. We close our offices on all Jewish holidays and allow all of our employees to leave early on Friday before the Jewish Sabbath and early on all Jewish sacred days. Every one of our Presidents and Executive Directors, and Board Members have been Jewish. ZOA is a charter member of the Conference of Presidents of Major America Jewish Organizations.

  1. ZOA “aligns with xenophobic elements.”

False: ZOA has not aligned itself with xenophobic elements. ZOA condemns xenophobes. We have had many non-Jewish speakers, Christian speakers, African-American speakers at our events. We have had Muslims speakers at our campus events. We have had gay speakers. Mort Klein has spoken in numerous countries around the world.

By saying Mort Klein belongs on a list with the most monstrous Jew-killers and haters in the world, like leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, along with Farrakhan and David Duke, the Forward falsely states that Mort Klein is a monstrous, odious hater or killer himself. As a child of Holocaust survivors, Mort Klein’s aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were murdered by the biggest monstrous Jew-hating killers of that era. Now, the Forward places Mort Klein on a list of the biggest monstrous Jew-hating killers of this era.

Further, it’s obscene for the Forward/Davidson to state that ZOA ‘s Klein is danger to Jews, let alone a greater danger than Linda Sarsour. After all she shared a podium with Rasmea Odeh – who had been convicted of murdering two college students in a supermarket bombing in Israel and who will be deported for concealing her terrorist crimes on her immigration forms. Yet Sarsour said she was “honored and privileged to be on stage with Rasmea”. More on Sarsour:

  • Sarsour posted a photo of an Arab child walking toward Israeli soldiers holding rocks in both hands, and praised this as “the definition of courage”. She has condemned “Zionist trolls out to play. Bring it”.
  • She tweeted her support for the Palestinian Arab terror intifada saying “it’s invaluable on many fronts.”
  • She has written “nothing is creepier than Zionism”.
  • She falsely claims if you are a Zionist, you cannot be a feminist.

The ZOA, whose past presidents include Justice Louis Brandeis, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver and Stephen Wise, has been called “the most credible advocate for Israel on the American Jewish scene today” by the Wall Street Journal. The most prominent Arab American anti-Israel lobbyist James Zogby has complained about the “vocal and muscular ZOA that has risen like a phoenix” and has helped Israel by “forcing newspapers to change maps, forced politicians to change their votes”. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, “The ZOA is an organization that refuses to compromise on the truth regardless of prevailing fashion… It is a bulwark of defense for Israel… I urge you to support the ZOA.”

The Forward/Davidson has ignored the extraordinary pro-Israel accomplishments of the ZOA.

  • In a historic breakthrough, after a 6-year ZOA campaign, the US government issued a policy protecting Jewish students from harassment, intimidation and discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
  • The ZOA’s legal complaint on behalf of Jewish students at UC Irvine triggered the first ever government investigation into whether a federally funded university was failing to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment under Title VI.
  • After the ZOA’s campaign to expose the bigotry of anti-Semitic and Israel bashing by a Muslim student group at UC, the group was suspended. On an LA Times op-ed stated ZOA was the cause of the suspension.
  •  ZOA has helped successfully pass anti-BDS legislation in many states around the country
  • ZOA was instrumental in the passage of the Koby Mandell Act which established a US office to focus on capturing Palestinian Arabs who murdered American citizens. The NY Times quoted a State Dept. official who said, “ZOA’s three-year campaign was “important” in passing this legislation.”
  • The NY Times and Washington Post recognized ZOA’s role in rescinding the nomination of Israel basher Chas Freeman as National Intelligence Director. Freeman publicly condemned ZOA’s role on CNN.
  • The ZOA campaigned against the nomination to the US Holocaust Museum of John Roth, who compared Israeli policies to Nazis policies, and resulted in Roth’s withdrawal.
  • The ZOA exposed the anti-Israel writings of Joe Zogby when he was hired as top aide to Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk, resulting in Zogby leaving.
  • When Salam Al-Marayati, who had praised Arab terrorist groups, was nominated to the US Government Commission on Terrorism, a ZOA campaign led to his withdrawal.
  • The Washington Post recognized ZOA as the leader in securing legislation demanding US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and mandating the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
  • The ZOA regularly files amicus briefs in court cases on issues of importance to the Jewish people.
  • Major speakers at ZOA’s National Dinner have included Israel Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is no wonder Ambassador Dermer stated, “When we really need you, we know that the ZOA will be standing at our side.”

This is hardly the stuff of a man who heads the ZOA, that the Forward/Davidson claims is one of the 19 most dangerous people to Jews and Israel in the world and more dangerous than anti Semite Linda Sarsour.

No wonder top journalists from the JTA, Boston Globe, NY Post, Haaretz and others have cried out against this absurd defamation of ardent Zionist Morton A. Klein.

We have only two more words to say to Forward/ Davidson. FOR SHAME!

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The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.- Israel relations and continues to be on the front lines of Jewish activism.