Over the past two years, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton Klein has had to defend himself against three lawsuits from two different fired employees, as well as to weather the temporary loss of his organization’s tax-exempt status and to undergo heart surgery. At the end of 2013, he earned the dubious distinction of being named by The Jewish Daily Forward as one the five most “overpaid” leaders of Jewish organizations.
Now, for the first time since 1993, when he unseated then incumbent president James Schiller, Klein is facing a challenge to his leadership of the 117-year-old hawkish pro-Israel organization. Steven Goldberg, a Los Angeles-based attorney, is actively campaigning to unseat Klein at the board election to be held at the ZOA’s upcoming convention in March.
Goldberg, who was nominated in 2010 to his current position as vice chair of the ZOA’s national board by Klein at the organization’s last convention, announced his candidacy in a YouTube video released on Jan. 21.
“I care about Israel and the Jewish people, and I believe the ZOA is a vitally important organization that really occupies a unique space in Jewish activism and the pro-Israel community,” Goldberg told the Journal in a recent interview. “But unless changes are made, the ZOA, which has existed since 1897, is not going to last much longer.”