NEW YORK, NY — Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), hailed Breitbart News’ executive chairman and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon as a “great Zionist” and lover of Israel ahead of the ZOA’s annual dinner in November, which will feature Bannon as a speaker.
The ZOA is America’s oldest pro-Israel organization and has long held a central role in defending Israel within the U.S.
Klein addressed Bannon’s forthcoming speech at the ZOA’s annual gala in New York in an opinion piece at the left-leaning Forward newspaper titled, “Steve Bannon Loves Israel And The Jews — Really.”
In the piece, Klein denounced the “ugly lies and outright character assassination” which some news media outlets and left-wing groups directed at Bannon the past year.
“In fact, Bannon loves Israel and the Jewish people, and hates anti-Semites and racists,” Klein wrote. “In his former position in the Trump administration and at Breitbart, Bannon has been and continues to be a leading defender of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Bannon bravely fought to place the strongest possible defenders of Israel and the toughest opponents of Iran’s nuclear and terrorist activities in key Mideast policy positions in the Trump administration. A well-known top-level Israeli official told me privately: “Mort, you know from the outside that Bannon is a friend of Israel. I can tell you as an insider that he is the greatest friend of Israel imaginable.”
Klein pointed to Bannon’s instrumental role in founding Breitbart Jerusalem, which included Bannon’s personal recruitment of this reporter to defend Israel against the constant barrage of smears perpetuated by enemies of the Jewish state. A key goal of Breitbart, as Klein correctly noted, is to expose rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel attitudes that permeate U.S. college campuses. Breitbart also routinely works to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel.
The ZOA president referenced a recent report in Vanity Fair, which revealed that, while he served as White House chief strategist, Bannon heavily lobbied President Trump to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. However, the move was blocked by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
Citing three Bannon allies, Vanity Fair further reported that Bannon boycotted a meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, quipping, “I’m not going to breathe the same air as that terrorist.”
The magazine revealed that Bannon pushed a tougher stance against the PA, which pays salaries to terrorists imprisoned in the Jewish state for committing violent acts against Israelis and routinely incites violence against Israel.
This year’s ZOA dinner, meanwhile, will also feature such Israel supporters as billionaire philanthropists Miriam and Sheldon Adelson; U.S. Senator Tom Cotton; U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon; former U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman; and past chairmen of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Mort Zuckerman and Ken Bialkin.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.