Missing the Mooch: ‘we lost a strong supporter of Israel,’ says ZOA’s Morton Klein

US Politics
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The head of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, bemoaned the firing of White House communications director Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci on Monday in an interview with Haaretz. “We lost a very strong friend and supporter of Israel,” Klein told the Israeli daily, referring to Scaramucci by his nickname.

Scaramucci had only been on the job for 10 days and was fired by the new White House chief of staff John F. Kelly. The move came days after another major White House staff shake-up when Scaramucci’s foe Reince Priebus was let go from his post as chief of staff on July 27.

From Haaretz:

“We lost a very strong friend and supporter of Israel,” said Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a right-wing organization, who has been in touch with Scaramucci ever since the 2016 election campaign. “He loves Israel and wants to do what is best for Israel, as long as its’ also the best thing for America,” Klein told Haaretz with regards to the “Mooch,” using his nickname, and adding that “maybe they will still find another position for him in the administration.”

More from Haaretz:

“Scaramucci is a Wall Street guy, not a policy expert,” Klein told Haaretz on Monday, in a conversation which took place after news of Mooch’s firing had broken. “His knowledge of the policy issues related to Israel wasn’t perfect, but his heart was in the right place. He came to me during the election, when he was advising Trump, to get some advice and ideas. I always felt that he is a sincere friend of Israel, and he became more knowledgeable with time.”

Klein’s relationship with the Trump administration was first solidified by Scaramucci when the two sat down in January to discuss Israel and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. It was the first meeting between a major Jewish organization and the Trump team after the election. According to Klein, the ZOA has had an ear to the administration before the in-person discussion, but Scaramucci was his link to the administration.

Outside of the White House, both Trump and Klein received heavy financial backing from casino mogul and billionaire pro-Israel funder Sheldon Adelson who donated to both the Trump campaign and the ZOA.

Speaking to the Jewish Insider, Klein said the feedback he had received from the Trump administration was that their views about Israel matched those of the ZOA:

“Scaramucci has the same job as Valerie Jarrett had in the Obama White House. I am meeting with him to talk about Israel, about the dangers of a Palestinian state, about the extraordinary importance of moving the embassy, especially as a sign that Islamic terrorist threats will not control policy, and to talk about the Palestinian Authority’s war against Israel. I am speaking to as many Trump officials about these issues as I can. They have told me that they realize that ZOA is the Jewish organization that most promotes and reflects their views about the Arab-Islamic war against Israel. They know that almost all the other organizations support a Palestinian state, do not come out and say Jews have a right to live in Judea and Samaria. They have told me — one after another — that we are the only major Jewish group they understand reflects Trump’s views on these issues. So, they have reached out to me, they call me about Israel issues all the time, and my meeting with Scaramucci is just a continuation of a strong and enduring relationship between the Trump Administration and the ZOA and myself.”

In recent days Klein’s praise for Scaramucci was not extended to other officials in the White House. Last week his group wrote a press release calling for the resignation of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after the State Department published a 2016 country report on terrorism. Klein blasted the report as a “bigoted, biased, anti-Semitic, Israel-hating error-ridden terrorism report,” taking aim at a clause that cited Israel for creating a “drivers of violence” among Palestinians. The exact language from the State Department report that Klein lambasted was:

“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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8 Responses

  1. Keith
    August 1, 2017, 5:46 pm

    MORTON KLEIN- “We lost a very strong friend and supporter of Israel.”

    Nowadays in Washington DC, one would have to look far and wide to find someone in a position of influence who wasn’t “a very strong friend and supporter of Israel.”

    • Mooser
      August 1, 2017, 6:03 pm

      . “We lost a very strong friend and supporter of Israel,”

      Yeah, you’re pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel for them, aren’t you.

      • Misterioso
        August 2, 2017, 10:38 am

        @mooser

        BINGO!!

      • Citizen
        August 4, 2017, 11:09 am

        Not really; said barrel is packed full of them–he’s just too outspokenly vulgar–Wall St hides that

  2. eljay
    August 1, 2017, 7:21 pm

    … “We lost a very strong friend and supporter of Israel,” said Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a right-wing organization, who has been in touch with Scaramucci ever since the 2016 election campaign. “He loves Israel and wants to do what is best for Israel, as long as its’ also the best thing for America,” Klein told Haaretz …

    Funny, I would expect an American (non-Jewish or Jewish) to love America and to want to do what is best for America. And if some other country or countries benefit from that approach, that’s just icing on the cake.

  3. Ossinev
    August 2, 2017, 9:39 am

    “We lost a very strong friend and supporter of Israel,” said Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), a right-wing organization, who has been in touch with Scaramucci ever since the 2016 election campaign”

    I think Morty could have shown some real “moral” support for this great friend of Israel by using Scramamucci Biblical standard language:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/27/anthony-scaramucci-white-house-reince-priebus-steve-bannon

  4. genesto
    August 2, 2017, 12:26 pm

    Damned if we have more good friends of Israel in national government than actual, US-loving citizens!

    The REAL reason Scarramooch lost his job, though, was that he couldn’t do the fandango! (My apologies to all the groaner haters out there).

  5. just
    August 9, 2017, 3:39 pm

    I don’t where to put this rather ‘illuminating’ article by Allison Kaplan Sommer, so here goes:

    “Americans in Israel at the Heart of the Netanyahu Corruption Probes

    The mysteriously funded group iVoteIsrael has consistently claimed to be non-partisan. New revelations tell a different story

    … The clear ties to Republican conservative and pro-settlement Likud circles (Harow has served as head of American Friends of Likud) further confirm suspicions the group has long denied, regarding the underlying motives of iVoteIsrael, which has consistently presented itself as a non-partisan group motivated solely by a desire for American citizens in Israel to vote and remain engaged in U.S. political life, while refusing to reveal its funding sources. Neither iVoteIsrael nor Americans for Jerusalem reveal the names of any board members or staff on their respective websites.

    It was in 2012, just a month before the election, that the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group revealed that the iVoteIsrael parent organization listed the same suite number and office address as the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in its 2010 corporate tax returns filed in the state of Delaware, and that veteran Republican strategist Nelson Warfield was listed on the organization’s reports as treasurer.

    In that race, the group consistently released polls showing that American voters in Israel favored Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama by a more than two-to-one margin. It produced slick media campaigns, co-sponsored local debates and sponsored a visit to Israel of Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. In a speech during his visit, Fleischer assailed President Obama for “pushing Israel around” and forcing the Jewish state to “make harmful, unwise concessions.”

    All the while, the group refused to reveal who stands behind it, citing its status as a registered not-for-profit 501(c)4, which does not require it to reveal its donors, and would not comment on its origins or sources of support.

    Marc Zell, the chairman of Republicans Abroad Israel denied any ties, saying“The charge that they’re biased is just silly.”

    Elie Pieprz, national director for iVoteIsrael at the time, also denied assertions that people who signed up for ballots with iVoteIsrael ended up on a Republican mailing list and said “the accusation that we’re acting secretly [as Republicans] is problematic and disenfranchising people.”

    Pieprz, a Republican activist and Beltway professional before he moved to a West Bank settlement, has subsequently served as director of international affairs for the Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlements.

    In an interview with a podcaster for the Jewish Press, Pieprz said  he believed Israeli-American voters had the potential to influence key congressional districts in places like Brooklyn or South Florida and “have a very significant impact that goes to Israel’s advantage.”
    Following the 2012 election, iVoteIsrael claimed to have quadrupled the number of Israelis voting, in comparison to the previous general election, noting an impact specifically in swing states like Florida and Ohio. According to an iVoteIsrael exit poll, 85% voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney and 15% for the incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama.

    In 2016, the organization was far less visible and active than it had been four years earlier, overshadowed by a large-scale pro-Trump GOP effort — whose funding was also unclear and which included an aggressive professional operation to register as many Republican-leaning U.S. citizens as possible and help them vote. …”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.806039

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