Morton A. Klein was reelected national president of the Zionist Organization of America in a 93% landslide. Voting by some 150 regional delegates from around the US took place on Sunday at the right-wing Zionist organization’s annual convention in Philadelphia.
Klein’s re-election follows a contentious campaign in which his opponent, national vice president for the Los Angeles ZOA chapter Steven M. Goldberg, accused Klein, who has been in his position for two decades, of major mismanagement of the organization.
“This landslide victory was a clear repudiation of my opponent’s outrageous, disgraceful allegations against ZOA and myself. It is a clear mandate for the policies and work we have been doing at ZOA, and which must go on,” Klein told The Times of Israel from the convention.
“The fact that Goldberg got only seven percent of the vote shows that his lies, his rubbish, did not resonate for people,” he added.
“I wouldn’t say Klein was re-elected,” Goldberg responded. “I would say it was the reappointment of Morton Klein by his friends and cronies despite the wishes of ZOA members around the country.”
Goldberg told the San Diego Jewish World last week that he conducted a straw poll by email among ZOA members. He reported that 118 of the 1099 ZOA members with email addresses on record responded, with 92 (or 78%) of them favoring him over Klein.
Klein suggested that it was not only Goldberg’s allegations against him that displeased voting delegates, but also Goldberg’s promotion of “extremist positions.”
“He says I am not right-wing enough, if you can believe it,” Klein said. “Goldberg believes Israel should never make any concessions for peace. The conditions are not right for Israel to make any concessions now, but I would not be against making concessions under the right conditions in return for 100 years of peace.”
“I don’t think Mort has any legitimacy,” countered Goldberg. “He has been exposed to the sunlight and he won’t recover.”
Klein said he was looking forward to getting back to work. “This has all been very painful for me and my wife. We are still recovering,” he said.