On Sept. 11, the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) board of directors met in New York and overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressing confidence in the organization’s direction and in the leadership of Morton Klein, its president of 19 years.
The vote came less than a day after a news report that ZOA had had its tax-exempt status revoked as far back as May 2011 for failing to file three consecutive years of key financial documents with the Internal Revenue Service.
Only one board member present at the meeting, ZOA National Vice Chair Steven Goldberg, voted against the resolution. Goldberg, a Los Angeles resident, told the Journal that he believes ZOA’s loss of tax-exempt status points to larger problems with the 115-year-old educational and advocacy nonprofit. In an interview on Sept. 12, Goldberg insisted Klein must be replaced for the ZOA to move forward.
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During the buildup to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza last year, the Zionist Organization of America and its outspoken national president, Morton Klein, spearheaded opposition to the plan among right-wing American Jews. At the same time that he was juggling Middle Eastern politics, however, Klein also was facing down a lawsuit from his ghostwriter and top adviser and a labor grievance from the organization’s longtime receptionist.
The ZOA, a storied century-old organization, employs fewer than 20 people, but the two recent complaints are only the latest of a raft of workplace problems for Klein — problems that many inside the organization say he has caused. Klein was elected national president of the ZOA in 1993. Since then he has assumed almost complete control of the organization, staying in office thanks to a constitutional change that allows him to remain president indefinitely.
During his tenure, Klein has turned the ZOA into arguably the most prominent American opponent of Israeli territorial concessions and American aid to the Palestinians, with fiery speeches, endless press releases, frequent newspaper opinion pieces and intense lobbying in Washington. He has won over such big-name donors as Lowell Milken, brother of famous junk-bond trader Michael Milken. But interviews with more than a dozen former employees and board members indicate that Klein’s tenacity and control of the organization can make working for the ZOA a sometimes unnerving and unhappy experience.
Continue reading Mort Klein’s Abuse of Employees
The Zionist Organization of America’s president received a 38% raise in the years that the group failed to disclose its finances to the Internal Revenue Service, according to documents obtained by the Forward.
The IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of the hawkish Israel advocacy group in February after the organization missed three consecutive years of tax filings, the Forward revealed.
ZOA National President Morton Klein earned $315,385 in 2007, the last year for which filings are publicly available. His base compensation in 2011 was $435,050.
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