Skip To Content
Fast Forward

‘Racist’ and ‘slanderous’: bystanders to Conference of Presidents vote start sniping, too

Arguments over last week’s vote to delay the election of the new chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations have continued to develop on social media, with more Jewish organizations who weren’t part of the process joining the fray.

The Presidents Conference, which lobbies on behalf of 51 Jewish organizations, voted last week to nominate Dianne Lob, the former chair of the Jewish immigration organization HIAS, as its next chair – but in a compromise move, they also voted to delay her appointment by a year. Morton Klein, the president of the right-wing Zionist Organization of America, had called for Lob, who had been recommended by the Presidents’ Conference search committee, to be rejected due to HIAS’ work bringing Muslim refugees into the United States.

In response, more than 200 students from J Street, the dovish group that was controversially rejected from Presidents Conference membership in 2014, wrote an open letter criticizing what they called Klein’s “pattern of racist and Islamophobic behavior,” and called on the conference to investigate Klein for violating the group’s rules on criticizing other Jewish organizations.

Klein on Friday called the letter “libel,” and on Tuesday, the Coalition for Jewish Values, a group of right-wing Orthodox rabbis that is also not part of the Presidents Conference, issued a press release calling the letter an example of “baseless slander, which is the antithesis of the Jewish values the signatories claim to endorse.”

Aiden Pink is the deputy news editor of the Forward. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aidenpink

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.