Steve Sets the Record Straight on Israpundit

Ted Belman of the Israpundit blog has given both Mort Klein and Steve Goldberg a forum to share their views. Steve wrote to Ted the following post to counter pressure Ted received from Mort Klein following Ted’s publication of Steve’s “Why I’m Running for ZOA President” video.

These points are important to counter the falsehoods that Mort Klein is spreading, often by phone when no one else can contradict his claims. Read the post here (or below) and take a look at Mort Klein’s self-aggrandizing and strange responses.


Read your post endorsing Mort. Of course, you have every right to endorse whomever you want, and I still consider you a friend. But please be aware of the following facts:

1. The rationale given by Mort for taking such an enormous salary starting in 2008 and continuing thereafter, that he worked full-time for 5 1/2 years for free is not true. I found the real numbers and they are on my website. The truth is he was a volunteer for the first 4 years but it was only part-time. Then he took $40k in compensation even though the ZOA constitution at the time prohibited the officers from getting compensation.

Afterwards, the ZOA constitution was amended to allow the president to be paid. He then took $99k in 1999 and $125k in 2000.

2. Mort has claimed repeatedly that his average salary over the 20 years is only $200k. But he has taken more than $5.64 million in the 20 years, which averages to over $282k. If you capitalize it over 20 years, it becomes almost double that in present value dollars.

3. Measured by valid e-mail addresses, the ZOA’s membership list is fewer than 800. The ZOA website dishonestly says there are 30,000. That means the ZOA is a minuscule organization and lying about it. Not good.

4. The last year for which there are financial statements ins 2012, and donations were barely over $1 million. There is a claim that he raised $5 million in 2013, but it is entirely unsubstantiated. Even if true, a review of Form 990s over the last few years shows that the ZOA is raising far less money than Stand With Us, which is about 10 years old, and even the vile J Street, which is only about 5 years old. The fundraising has been mediocre.

5. There is only the ZOA 501c3. Mort has refused to establish a related 501c4 and PAC. It means the ZOA has very little influence on Capitol Hill.

6. The Israel office is manned only by Jeff Daube. Jeff is outstanding and does more than can be expected of any one person, but he doesn’t have help or even an office.

7. Mort recently did something that, by itself, should disqualify him. He tricked Danny Danon into giving him a letter of endorsement. The letter is dated January 17 2014. Mort asked Danny for the letter without disclosing that he had an opponent and the opponent is me. Danny has told me and others that he never would have done that had he known the truth. It is about to be clarified–publicly. I never would have put Danny in the position of making a choice even though I know he personally prefers me (he chose me, not Mort, to be the US representative on the Executive Board of World Likud). It wouldn’t be the right thing to do. But it is even worse that Mort deceived Danny into giving the endorsement in an underhanded way. It is no trifling matter to deceive the Deputy Defense Minister of Israel.

8. You know that Mort has been smearing me personally with matters irrelevant to the ZOA. The smears are also false.

9. Mort has refused to debate me. He is comfortable debating Jewish leftists and even vicious anti-Semites. The reason is he knows he has the truth on his side. He won’t debate me because he does not have the truth on his side in the election. He can telephone people privately and say what he wants without fear of contradiction.

10. Mort is refusing to allow the ZOA members as a whole to vote. He is requiring people to fly to Philadelphia, his hometown where his friends live, to vote. That’s tilting the playing field. Imagine if the election were in Los Angeles and only people who could manage to attend physically could vote. Not allowing ZOA members to vote absentee, by proxy or by e-mail is undemocratic and indefensible. It makes the election a sham.

11. I’ve arranged for an independent website provider to poll all ZOA members with e-mail addresses as to their preference. Each member will receive an electronic ballot and can respond only from his or her e-mail address, and can vote only once, so the poll will have integrity. As a matter of principle, I’ve agreed that I will withdraw and congratulate Mort on his victory if he wins the poll. The ZOA’s president should have a mandate from the majority of its members. If I win the poll, however, I am going to ask Mort to withdraw, and failing that, for the delegates in Philadelphia to vote to ratify the will of the majority. Having a president with no legitimacy would be a disaster and would make the ZOA into a joke.
12. The title of your column actually is very sad for the ZOA if true. If Mort is the ZOA, what happens when he dies or is disabled? The organization needs to be more important than any one man. It can be much more than it is, because no one man can embody what the ZOA is supposed to stand for and accomplish. We don’t have Jewish kings. After 20 years, isn’t it time to give someone else a chance?

13. I’m a flawed human being, but I treat other people with respect. I don’t bully and scream at employees. Once this election is over, Mort will return to ignoring you. I will continue to like and respect you even after this is over.

Please just give this some thought.