Shame on ZOA’S Michael Goldblatt


Two American citizens, Taylor Force and Ezra Schwartz, were recently murdered by Palestinian terrorists, raising the number of Americans murdered by Palestinians to 66. Force’s murder occurred on March 7, just more than two weeks ago. Two weeks prior to his murder, a timely op-ed regarding the pursuit of justice for U.S. victims of Palestinian terrorism was written by Jennifer Dekel from EMET, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, “Congress at its best.”

During this difficult time — a time when all Americans should be collectively condemning the Palestinian Authority for encouraging and rewarding such savage murder of Americans — Dr. Michael Goldblatt, chairman of the board of the Zionist Organization of America, wrote a five-paragraph letter to take issue with one word, “spearheaded,” in Dekel’s sentence saying that Sarah Stern, EMET’s founder and president, “spearheaded the passage of the Koby Mandell Act.” He claimed that Stern did not spearhead the act, but in fact, she did. This was stated by Sherri Mandell, the mother of the slain teenager Koby Mandell for whom the act was named, who in an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post back in 2012 wrote:,“My family was happy when we heard about the Koby Mandell Act being spearheaded by Sarah Stern, currently president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth.”

Does Dr. Goldblatt question the veracity of Sherri Mandell?

Stern was the primary lobbyist for the ZOA and head of its Washington office when the Koby Mandell Act was first proposed. In several ZOA press releases at that time, she is noted for her efforts on Capitol Hill as the national policy coordinator for the ZOA. In an e-mail dated Dec. 12, 2001, to the “ZOA National Board, ZOA Regional Leaders & Executive Directors,” from Dr. Michael Goldblatt, then the chair of the national executive committee, National President Morton A. Klein and Dr. Alan Mazurek, then the chairman of the board, they collectively wrote: “Our chief representative on Capitol Hill, Sarah Stern, spearheaded the mobilization of congressmen to press both the Clinton and Bush administrations on this issue.” The issue alluded to the Rewards for Justice Program that was part of the impetus to pass the Koby Mandell Act. That same e-mail goes on to state: “It is therefore crucial that all of us continue and intensify our efforts to contact our members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the Koby Mandell Act.”

It was Stern’s call to the parents of Koby Mandell — asking their permission to name the bill after their murdered son — that gave the name to the legislation. She assisted Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), among others in the U.S. Senate, and Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.), among others in the U.S. House of Representatives, in drafting the “Dear Colleague” letters needed to gain support and additional cosponsors for the legislation. After leaving the ZOA in 2003 she continued to lobby for support and passage of the bill while heading the Washington office of the American Jewish Congress. When the bill was finally passed in 2004, it was Stern who contacted the Mandells to advise them of the passage of the bill.

Recently Stern and EMET were instrumental in encouraging hearings that took place on Feb. 2 under the auspices of the National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, specifically addressing congressional oversight and concern that the Department of Justice is not fulfilling its responsibility under the Koby Mandell Act, since not one Palestinian murderer has yet to be brought to justice in the United States. Stern’s testimony appears in the Congressional Record. This was the primary focus of Dekel’s op-ed. Goldblatt spent five paragraphs defaming Stern and EMET over one word — a word that accurately characterized her efforts that resulted in this legislation — written by Dekel, not by Stern.

Nowhere in the op-ed did Dekel write that Stern or EMET took full credit for the passage of the Koby Mandell Act or intimate that the ZOA was not involved in this endeavor. She did not denigrate any persons or organizations that may have been involved in this effort, and certainly, Stern did not as well.

One can only speculate on the motivation of Goldblatt in attempting to take credit from Sarah Stern and to defame her selfless efforts, while promoting ZOA and Klein. Shame on you, Dr. Goldblatt.

David Green is the chairman of EMET’s executive board.

Due to an editing error, the name of Taylor Force was inadvertently spelled incorrectly in the original version of this article. The Washington Jewish Week apologizes for the error.

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