After published reports emerged about the fact that the ZOA had lost its tax exempt status for the several years and failed to advise donors of the status change, things began to crumble from there.
Jewish news sources reported that while donations to the ZOA significantly slowed during the years, it appears that Mr. Klein’s salary catapulted by a whopping 38%. We find it more than revealing that an organization that isn’t even taking in $3 million a year had crafted a compensation package for its president in 2008 that totaled over $1.2 million. Something is really off kilter here.
Moreover, we have learned that in addition to donations to the premiere Zionist movement coming to a screeching halt so are the organizations numbers. Reports indicate that there are 9400 names on their e-mail list while their web site boasts 30,000 members and some say the ZOA in reality only has 1000 members. How tragic that an organization that was once so viable and tremendously effective in the front lines of those supporting Israel has become a shadow of its former self.
Allegations have been made that the ZOA is not being operated as a democratic institution. In his interview with The Jewish Voice, Mr. Goldberg said, “I’ve been on the board since 2008 and the national vice chairman since 2010, and I have not once seen a budget for the organization.”
He asserts that Mr. Klein is an autocrat and has transformed the ZOA in to his own personal candy store.
Beyond the political mudslinging however remains a point that is shared by both Goldberg and the rank and file membership of the ZOA and that is the fact that the organization is visibly declining in stature; especially at a time when Israel is under existential siege.
There is no doubt that as global anti-Semitism continues to rise at an alarming rate and the BDS movement focused on Israel gains new momentum along with its cadre of delegitimizers, an organization such as the ZOA should ostensibly be raising more money than ever before. Each day should be spent working towards the revitalization of the college campus chapters with an end goal of creating a burgeoning nationwide activist movement, ready to be an intelligent and bold voice and unrelenting voice for Israel and the Jewish people.
It is abundantly clear that the ZOA is crying out for new, fresh and vital leadership. While Mort Klein has been a respected and tenacious leader, it is time for him to hand over the presidency to a person with new ideas; a person of the highest degree of integrity and honesty. A person who will lead the ZOA in the next part of the 21st century with the kind of democratic mandate and transparency that the membership has been so sorely lacking until this juncture.