Three reasons to pay attention to the ZOA’s leadership fight

Jonah Lowenfeld of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal writes:

When the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) delegates gather in Philadelphia on Sunday, March 9, to kick off the organization’s 97th national convention, they’ll be faced with a choice between the two men who want to lead the staunchly pro-Israel organization.

On one side stands current ZOA president Morton Klein, who has run the organization since 1994 and is seeking another term. On the other stands Steve Goldberg, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who is currently national vice chairman of the ZOA’s board.

The issues at play in this fight over the ZOA’s top job have been reported in The Journal and elsewhere: Klein is standing by his leadership, pointing to his success in reviving the organization when it faced bankruptcy and his work since. Goldberg has accused Klein of corruption, self-enrichment and mismanagement, and claims that the ZOA has lost its position among pro-Israel organizations.

Two right-leaning columnists in the Jerusalem Post have staked out opposing sides in this fight over the ZOA, suggesting that this is a hotly watched contest – but for most Jews, this battle barely matters. The ZOA, a right-wing organization, represents a small slice of the American Jewish community, and any political differences that exist between Klein and Goldberg are minimal. (Both oppose the current peace negotiations with the Palestinians; neither has any faith in the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability.)

Still, there are at least three good reasons why engaged American Jews – even those who don’t much care for the ZOA – should pay attention to this contest, if only as an object lesson of the challenges that face all nonprofits today.

Click here to read the rest in the Jewish Journal.