WASHINGTON (May. 29)
The American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) has suspended from membership for one month the Los Angeles Jewish Community Bulletin, published by the Jewish Federation Council there, for being “in apparent violation” of a 1977 AJPA resolution aimed at preventing unfair competition by Federation-sponsored newspapers in areas already served by privately-owned publications.
The suspension resolution, which was adopted nearly unanimously last Thursday night at the AJPA’s 42nd annual meeting here, calls for the expulsion of the Los Angeles Jewish Community Bulletin, if its response is “not satisfactory” to the AJPA ethics committee.
The committee, headed by Miriam Goldberg, editor and publisher of the Intermountain Jewish News in Denver, recommended the action after hearing complaints from the B’nai B’rith Messenger and the Heritage Southwest Jewish Press, both independent newspapers in Los Angeles, that the Community Bulletin had turned from a Federation house organ to a weekly newspaper “aggressively” soliciting advertisements.
Robert Cohen, editor-in-chief of the St. Louis Jewish Light and co-chairman of the ethics committee, said the Community Bulletin was invited to send a representative but chose not to do so. A third privately-owned newspaper in Los Angeles, Israel Today, is not a member of the AJPA.
RESPONSE BY JEWISH FEDERATION COUNCIL
Ted Kanner, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by telephone today that the AJPA ethics committee had operated on a set of assumptions and not on facts. In response to Cohen’s statement that the Bulletin had been invited to send a representative, Kanner said “That statement is not true. ” He said the Bulletin was never invited to send a representative.
“I am deeply offended that the Association, which represents the English Jewish press, takes an action condemning a member of the Association without first making an attempt to ascertain the facts or, at the very least, the point of view of that member of the Association, ” Kanner said.
The AJPA resolution calls for all three AJPA newspapers to present necessary documents. Cohen said he and Goldberg are willing to go to Los Angeles to meet with all the relevant parties.
If the Community Bulletin is expelled, the resolution then calls for the AJPA to consider entering a “friend of the court brief” in the suit filed by Herb Brin, editor emeritus of the Heritage, in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 17. The suit asks for $1,575,000 from the Bulletin in breach of contract, unfair competition, and for personal income loss for Brin and his son Dan Brin, the current editor.
ISSUE GOES BACK TO 1977
The issue goes back to 1977 when the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Council moved its Bulletin from biweekly to weekly publication seeking advertisements. It was then that the AJPA, meeting in Denver passed a resolution that noted the Los Angeles Jewish community was well served by three private newspapers: the B’nai B’rith Messenger, Heritage, and Israel Today.
“When a Jewish community is being well-served by viable private newspapers, it is inappropriate and ill-advised for Jewish Federations to take steps to put such papers out of business,” the resolution said.
Cohen said that the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Council abided by the AJPA decision until last February when the Bulletin went from biweekly to weekly publication for the start of the Federation’s fund drive. Dan Brin said there had also been an agreement between the independent newspapers and the Federation. He said that although the fund drive has ended, the Federation this month voted to continue the Community Bulletin as a weekly until the end of the year.
COHEN SUCCEEDS LIPPMAN AS AJPA PRESIDENT
Cohen, who was elected president of the AJPA, said that the ethics committee will meet with national Federation leaders to discuss the entire issue of Federation-directed publications. He said that all AJPA members have a stake in a free press whether they are privately owned or if they are Federation affiliated.
Cohen, who was AJPA president from 1972 to 1977, said the organization has grown from 25 members 12 years ago to nearly 100 today. He said he would like to consolidate the gains while restoring the “haimish” atmosphere of the smaller group.
Florence Eckstein, publisher of the Phoenix Jewish News, was elected first vice president; Marc Klein, editor and publisher of the Northern California Jewish Bulletin, San Francisco, second vice president; Dan Brin, third vice president; Robert Krishef, editor and general manager of the American Jewish World, Minneapolis, recording secretary; and Cynthia Dettelbach, editor of the Cleveland Jewish News, corresponding secretary. Morris Maline, editor of the Jewish Press, Omaha, Neb., was re-elected treasurer.
Cohen succeeded Jerome Lippman, publisher of the Long Island Jewish World, who now becomes a member of the executive committee. Elected to the executive committee were: Fran Gold, editor of the Jewish Horizon, Union, N.J.; Dorothy Rubin, editor of the Broward Jewish Journal, Fla.;Rich Waloff, business director of the Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia; Robert Rapaport, publisher of the Palm Beach Jewish World; and Vida Goldgar, editor and publisher of the Southern Israelite, Atlanta.