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ZOA Locked In Feud With Presidents Conference Groups

(JTA) — Three Jewish organizations are accusing the Zionist Organization of America of inappropriately criticizing them. And the ZOA is accusing one of them right back.

On Wednesday, the various spats will have a formal hearing at a committee meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, an umbrella association for Jewish groups. The Presidents Conference by-laws, according to the Forward, prohibit its members from attacking each other with “insults, ad hominem attacks, and name calling,” as well as criticisms that are “false, inaccurate or unfairly exaggerated.”

The Presidents Conference, which has over 50 organizations, aims to speak in a unified voice for the American Jewish establishment. The non-disparagement policy is meant to prevent discord among groups that sometimes differ widely on foreign and domestic affairs.

Three groups — the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women and the refugee aid group HIAS — have lodged separate formal complaints under that policy against the ZOA, a right-wing pro-Israel organization. In turn, the ZOA has lodged complaints against the ADL as well as Ameinu, a liberal pro-Israel group.

All the disputes will be judged by the committee in the formal, private hearings.

ZOA President Morton Klein called the complaints “nonsense” and denied that his group had done anything wrong.

“We’ve not called anybody names, ever,” Klein said. “We’ve never said anything false.”


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