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JTA Begins Expansion with Announcement of European and Mideast Bureaus

July 6, 1971
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The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s current program of reorganization and expansion was officially launched here today by JTA president Robert H. Arnow who announced the opening of the Agency’s European and Mideastern bureaus. Arnow made his announcement at an inaugural luncheon which was addressed by the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French Senate as well as representatives of the American and Israeli embassies in Paris. The JTA President stressed in his opening remarks the important role which JTA can play as “an objective and balanced news agency” which has a “basic role to fill in the Jewish world today.” Arnow stressed that JTA is in no way whatsoever the voice of Israel. He described the JTA as “a free agent that must act according to its own conscience, make its own decisions and bear the responsibility for any blunders which it may commit.”

At the luncheon, the JTA president announced that the European bureau in Paris, which will be headed by Edwin Eytan, and the Mideastern bureau in Jerusalem, headed by Amos Ben Vered, will start operating within the next fortnight. He noted that JTA does not intend to compete with other news media on major breaking stories but can usefully serve non-Jewish and Jewish publications and the Jewish people throughout the world by reporting on communal activities and problems of the Jewish people. The JTA president also acted that the JTA news service goes to such diverse elements as the various world governments and even to subscribers in Arab countries. Arnow said that not only is JTA fully independent and autonomous “but sometimes we are even critical of official Israeli positions.”

The President of the French Senate’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Andre Monteil, stressed objectivity as JTA’s first quality. He said that objectivity is not incompatible with sentimental belonging but stressed that JTA has to continue on its present path as “a precise and highly exact information media.”

Monteil expressed satisfaction at the fact that JTA had chosen Paris as the headquarters for its European Bureau. “This is fitting tribute to both French culture and to the value of its Jewish community,” he said. He concluded by paying tribute to Israel’s struggle for independence and security and reasserted that its needs will best be served by the existence of a “free and fully independent Jewish news agency.”

A representative of the American Embassy in Paris, Press Councilor John Trattner, wished the JTA success in its new endeavors. “For us as Americans, it is a pleasure and a privilege to have a new major American information media appear upon the scene,” he said. A representative of the Israeli Embassy, Information Councilor Ephraim Tari, conveyed the good wishes of the Israeli Ambassador in Paris Asher Ben Natan. The luncheon, attended by about 120 representatives of the French and Jewish press, was also addressed by the chairman of the London Committee of the JTA. Michael Sacher, who told the gathering that the JTA adds to the totality of information about the Jewish people and also serves to explain Israel to the world at large. “The role of JTA is to provide the kind of information not available elsewhere,” Sacher said.

At a working session of lay and professional JTA leaders, the Deputy Director General of the French Central Community Organization, Adam Loss stressed the need for absolute independence of the JTA. We must give our professional journalists absolute independence and autonomy within the organization to write and report how they see fit, Loss said. “The JTA must report all the news objectively, dispassionately and truthfully without giving in to any pressures or to any raison d’etat,” he said, adding that the location of the JTA bureau in Paris means that “European Jewry has now come of age. We are not the poor stepsons of the world Jewish communities.”

Murray Zuckoff, JTA News Editor, told the working session that the launching of the two bureaus marked the realization of JTA’s move from a potential to an actual worldwide news agency. He said that the JTA will embark on a program of reporting news concerning activities within the Jewish communities without being afraid of any “sacred cows.” “Everything that occurs within the communities is of vital interest to Jews all over the world.” Zuckoff said. “JTA has to provide the kind of news that does not curry favor to any one interest group but that presents all sides.”

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