Morton A. Klein is a German-born American economist, statistician, and pro-Israeli activist. He is the president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). In 2018, Klein controversially traveled to Qatar on a paid trip and he accepted $100,000 in contributions to the ZOA from Qatar lobbyist Joey Allaham. Klein is a child of Holocaust survivors, born in a displaced persons camp in Gunzberg, Germany.
The Jerusalem Post on Klein https://www.jpost.com/Middle…
Mother Jones mentioning Klein https://www.motherjones.com/p…
ZOA mentioning Klein https://zoa.org/2017/09/10374…
ZOA About Klein https://zoa.org/about/morton-a…
Twitter Profile https://twitter.com/mortonakl…
Haaretz mentioning Klein https://www.haaretz.com/us…
The ZOA web site quotes the following from Klein's Encyclopaedia Judaica entry: "Klein revived a moribund Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) in the 1990s and made it one of the most outspoken organizations on the American Jewish scene." After the Obama administration abstained from using its veto power to block United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 which stated that Israeli Settlement in the West Bank is a 'flagrant' violation of international law, Klein called Obama "a Jew-hating antisemite."
In February 2012, the ZOA lost its tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service after it failed to file tax returns for three years. The ZOA regained its status in May 2013. Klein said it was a technical "glitch." During the years that the ZOA failed to file tax returns, The Forward reported that Klein's salary increased 38%. In 2014, Steven Goldberg, a Los Angeles attorney and national vice-president of the ZOA, launched a challenge to Klein's presidency, alleging that Klein was mismanaging the ZOA and personally profiting. Klein was later reelected president with 93% of the vote.
In January 2018, Klein went on a paid trip to Qatar at the invitation of the Emir, part of Qatar's public relations efforts to change its reputation within the U.S. Jewish community and the Trump administration. During his visit, he met with a number of senior officials in the country, including the Emir. His visit received "strong criticism from other supporters of Israel, who warned that the Qataris were using 'pro-Israel' names to whitewash their support for Hamas and other terror organizations."
On June 19, 2018, Mother Jones reported that Qatar had donated $100,000 to the ZOA through lobbyist Joey Allaham. Allaham first contributed $50,000 to the ZOA on November 2, 2017, shortly before the group's annual gala on November 17 in which former Qatari diplomat Ahmed Al-Rumaihi was present, at the invitation of Allaham. The second $50,000 contribution from Allaham to the ZOA came on January 23, 2018, a few weeks after Klein visited Doha.
Klein's liaisons with Qatar coincided with the softening of his and the ZOA's tough stance against Qatar. In 2014, for instance, "the organization urged the US government to designate Qatar as a state sponsor of terrorism for 'funding and promoting Nazi-like organizations that want to kill every Jew.' ... In June 2017, Klein's ZOA had renewed its demand for the State Department to brand Qatar terrorists and had called on the Federal Aviation Authority to bar Qatar Airways from flying in the United States."
In September 2017, Klein announced that he had refused an invitation to meet with the "pro-Hamas Emir of the State of Qatar" on the sidelines of the 2017 United Nations General Assembly. He added that rather than change any of its "monstrous and evil actions, Qatar may be trying to create the optical illusion of Jewish support to moderate their image by hiring a well-connected PR firm and by having 'secret' meetings with Jewish leaders – which of course won't be a secret, as the whole reason for the meetings may be for the Qataris to point to them as evidence that the 'Jews' (and thus Israel) don't view them as enemies."
On January 20, 2018, shortly after Klein's paid trip to Qatar and just three days before the second $50,000 payment Allaham gave to ZOA on behalf of Qatar, Klein expressed to Haaretz a new, open attitude to dialogue with Qatar. In a subsequent March 2018 interview, Klein then praised Qatar for flying an Israeli flag at a recent handball tournament and said the emir told him that "last summer they stopped funding terrorist groups."
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