Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Chair Mark Levenson, Esq. released the following statement:
The Zionist Organization of America condemns a despicable hit-piece published by “Responsible Statecraft,” a publication of the pro-Iranian terrorist regime and the anti-Israel Quincy Institute. The article primarily attacks Iranian American individuals and organizations – some of whom the Zionist Organization of America is working with. It also falsely characterizes ZOA’s political pro-Israel positions. Yes, ZOA is a proudly and staunchly pro-Israel group. Any implication that ZOA is other than a rational centrist organization is wrong. Klein said, “ZOA always speaks the truth and nothing but the truth and truth is not a political position. The Zionist Organization of America deals solely with facts and it is those facts – historical facts, contemporary facts and legal facts — that form the positions that we take.
“ZOA finds it very interesting that Responsible Statecraft is trying to pour cold water on the prospects of us working with Iranian American groups. This is the same tactic the Iranian Regime uses to diminish the success of the Abraham Accords and the peace that Israel has made with the UAE, Bahrain, etc. Why is Responsible Statecraft parroting Iranian Regime talking points?
“Furthermore, we were honored that the great American patriot and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, who donated hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research for finding cures for cancer and heart disease and other diseases, and for treating victims of drug addiction, was also a supporter of ZOA. ZOA will gladly work with organizations and individuals who actually promote freedom and that combat oppressive regimes which support terrorism and threaten Israel. We note that before the Iranian revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini and other mullahs to power, there was a warm relationship between Israel and Iran. We hope that future Iranian leaders will no longer threaten Israel and her citizens, and that once again the two nations can have a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Levenson added, “Many groups and individuals oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran deal), which is a catastrophic and dangerous pact that – rather than prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – places it on a path to actually acquire nukes within a few years. ZOA will partner with those groups who agree.”
The Quincy Institute, publisher of “Responsible Statecraft,” is rife with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel figures. The “think tank” was founded in 2019 and its chief funders are the anti-Israel extremist George Soros and Charles Koch, according to the Washington Free Beacon (See: https://freebeacon.com/issues/koch-groups-launch-clouded-by-anti-semitism/). Soros’ funding of anti-Israel groups and activities is well-known. Koch has also doled out millions to anti-Israel organizations and activities through his Charles Koch Institute (See: https://www.timesofisrael.com/could-charles-koch-become-the-george-soros-of-the-right/).
The executive vice president of Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is Trita Parsi, a co-founder and former president of the National Iranian American Council. The NIAC is a strong proponent of the Iran deal. In 2015, it established an official lobbying arm called NIAC Action, to work on Capitol Hill against pro-Israel efforts, according to Politico (See: https://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/iranians-american-pac-niac-counter-pro-israel-lobby-119483).
Parsi co-authored a paper that “explicitly proposed the formation of an Iranian lobby in the U.S. capital to promote Tehran’s interests in Congress,” according to a report by Claire Lopez for the Center for Security Policy in 2008, called “RISE OF THE ‘IRAN LOBBY’ Tehran’s Front Groups Move On—and Into—the Obama Administration.” In an August 5, 2008 interview with Parsi, Iran’s Aftab News openly described him and his organization as the successors to the AIC (American-Iranian Council)… .” (See: https://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/media/center%20publication%20pdfs/Clare%20Lopez%20-%20Iran%20Lobby.pdf)
The Lopez report continued:
“And NIAC, which channels these funds to Iran, is itself called an Iranian lobbying organization by that regime, whose purpose is to promote the positions of Tehran to Washington policy-making circles. Under the leadership of Trita Parsi, and amply funded by a host of generally left wing foundations, NIAC conducts an active agenda of interviews, lobbying, and outreach that has succeeded in developing a complex network of influence throughout the Washington academic, legislative, media, NGO, and policy-making communities. Thanks as well to an echo chamber it enjoys from a retinue of prominent American Middle East experts, an authority on Iranian matters has been conferred on NIAC that is unmatched by any opposing organization in the United States.”
In addition to having Parsi as one of its top leaders, the Quincy Institute counts a number of notoriously anti-Jewish/anti-Israel figures among its fellows. These include John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, co-authors of the infamous anti-Jewish/anti-Israel book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” which, among others things, falsely accused Jewish Americans of having excessive power and of corrupting and manipulating United States policy.
Then there is Quincy fellow Lawrence Wilkerson, who has a long record of anti-Israel invectives and conspiracy theories, including his frequent absurd assertions that the Jewish State of Israel is trying to draw the United States into a world war: “We are in deeper trouble than even the prospects of a region-wide and perhaps even bigger war in the Middle East. And the country that will have started it all, the relationship, unbalanced as it is, that will have made it possible, is Israel, and that’s the danger that we face,” Wilkerson said in a speech (See: https://mondoweiss.net/2018/03/america-lawrence-wilkerson).
Quincy fellow Gary Sick has also promoted the ayatollah’s regime. Lopez noted: “Gary Sick illustrates the broad reach of the AIC-NIAC network. A former member of the AIC Board of Directors … [t]o his American audiences, he routinely promotes the interests of Iran’s clerical rulers, finding ways to excuse their terrorism, advocate more understanding on the part of the U.S. government, and encourage accommodation with Tehran.”
“It is the Quincy Institute and its agenda that may be gaining influence in Washington, and thus bears watching,” Klein noted.