Zionist Organization of America

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The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), was founded in 1897. It says it 'is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States'.[1] It says

ZOA is dedicated to educating the public, elected officials, media, and college/high school students about the truth of the ongoing and relentless Arab war against Israel. ZOA is also committed to promoting strong U.S.-Israel relations. ZOA works to protect Jewish college and high school students from intimidation, harassment and discrimination, and in fighting anti-Semitism in general.[1]

The ZOA claims a national membership of over 30,000.[1]


After the foundation of Israel

According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica[2]

With the founding of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, the ZOA's role diminished and shifted to fund raising and public relations on behalf of Israel. In 1957 a group of prominent Zionists seceded from the ZOA and organized the American Jewish League for Israel. The ZOA struggled to maintain its position by fostering projects in Israel such as Kefar Silver and the ZOA house in Tel Aviv, and stressing Zionist education and Hebrew culture in the U.S. ZOA supported the Young Judaea youth movement and several Zionist-oriented summer camps. It published a periodical The New Palestine which later was called The American Zionist. ZOA membership was 147,551 in 1918; 44,280 in 1939; and 165,000 in 1950. Since 1950 there has been a decline in membership.

Opposition to the Peace Process

According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica[2]

ZOA's influence continued to diminish in the 1980s and early 1990s as the focus of pro-Israel activism shifted to major lobby groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and as Jewish defense agencies increasingly took on pro-Israel functions.
But the group became more prominent after the 1993 election of Philadelphia activist Morton Klein as ZOA president in a controversy-ridden contest.
While most pro-Israel groups supported the 1993 Oslo agreement, under Klein the ZOA expressed strong reservations, citing ongoing terrorism and continuing statements by Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat rejecting Israel's right to exist. Klein also used his position as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organization to attack fellow presidents and to criticize individuals including New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and to lead a campaign against John K. Roth for director of the Research Institute of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He tried to prevent the Presidents Conference from endorsing the Peace Process even when this was the policy of the elected government of Israel.
As ZOA became more critical of Israel's participation in the peace process, the group was wracked by internal dissension over the question of whether it was appropriate for American Jews to criticize the policies of an elected government in Jerusalem. That led to several local chapters, led by a prominent group in Baltimore, to disaffiliate from ZOA.
But the shift to the right helped ZOA reestablish a strong fundraising base. The group, and Klein in particular, also became close allies of Christian Zionist groups that became increasingly critical of the Oslo process and U.S. involvement in ongoing negotiations.
ZOA was most effective in raising the issue of American victims of Palestinian terrorism. In the 1990s, it established a Washington lobbying operation that frequently clashed with AIPAC, the leading pro-Israel lobby group, and began working closely and virtually exclusively with right-of-center lawmakers. In 2005 ZOA became a leading U.S. voice against Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, conducting a vigorous but ultimately unsuccessful advertising campaign in Israel against the withdrawal.


According to Rightweb in 2012[3]:

In 2007, the last year for which it filed a 990, the ZOA reported approximately $4.5 million in revenue.[4] By 2011, according to the Forward, ZOA’s revenue had fallen $1.4 million below the 2011 figure, suggesting broad-based fundraising difficulties.[5]
A review of 2009 and 2010 990s filed by other organizations, however, suggests that ZOA has maintained its core neoconservative donors. The Sheldon Adelson Foundation contributed $500,000 between the two years, alongside $200,000 from the Irving Moskowitz Foundation and at least $115,000 from the Newton and Rochelle Becker Foundation. Smaller amounts came from other groups, including $12,000 from the Abstraction Fund, $10,000 from the James and Merryl Tisch Foundation, $6,250 from the Pittsburgh Terminal Corporation Foundation, and $5,600 from the Traditional Fund, alongside a host of smaller foundation supporters.



Louis D. Brandeis | Julian W. Mack (1918–21) | Louis Lipsky | Abba Hillel Silver (1945-1947) | Emanuel Neumann | Joseph Sternstein (Circa 1977) | Ivan Novick (circa 1981) | Alleck Resnick (Circa 1984/5) | Morton Klein

Affiliations, Resources, Contact, Notes


The ZOA is a member of the American Zionist Movement,[6] which is the US affiliate of the World Zionist Organization.[7]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ZOA About, Accessed 16 January 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jewish Virtual Library ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2008
  3. Rightweb Zionist Organization of America last updated: November 01, 2012
  4. See Guidestar.org, Nonprofit Profile for ZOA, http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/13-5628475/zionist-organization-america.aspx.
  5. Josh Nathan-Kazis, “ZOA's Mort Klein Gets 38% Pay Hike,” Forward, September 28, 2012, http://forward.com/articles/163407/zoas-mort-klein-gets--pay-hike/
  6. American Zionist Movement, All member organizations, Accessed 16 January 2014.
  7. WZO Zionist Federations. Accessed 16 January 2014.