He is our friend — this is a smear cam­paign

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - STEPHEN POL­LARD

THE REAL story be­hind the ac­cu­sa­tions against Michal Kamin­ski has noth­ing to with an­tisemitism. It has noth­ing to do with his ac­cusers’ oft-pro­claimed con­cern to stamp out racism. It is, rather, a grubby story about the EU and base pol­i­tics.

For nearly eight years be­fore join­ing the JC, I worked in Brus­sels. It is not a place as­so­ci­ated with friend­li­ness to­wards Is­rael. Few MEPs ac­cept Is­rael’s right to de­fend it­self, let alone ar­gue its case in pub­lic. One of that rare group is Michal Kamin­ski.

Does he hold views with which some of us might strongly dis­agree? In­deed. But is he a friend to the Jews? It would be harder to find a greater friend in Brus­sels. That is why the ac­cu­sa­tion of an­tisemitism is so vile.

So why has this row erupted? Pol­i­tics, pure and sim­ple. The Euro-fed­er­al­ists in Brus­sels are ar­ro­gant and dis­mis­sive of op­po­si­tion. (The re­cent ex­am­ple of the Ir­ish be­ing told to vote a sec­ond time, un­til they gave the ‘cor­rect’ ref­er­en­dum re­sult, is typ­i­cal.) When the con­stituent par­ties of the ECR group, which Mr Kamin­ski leads in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, were part of the Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Party they were im­po­tent, smoth­ered by the EPP’s fed­er­al­ist ma­jor­ity.

Now that they are a sep­a­rate group­ing, they are a live threat to the near-mo­nop­oly which the fed­er­al­ists had in the par­lia­ment. And so they had to be painted as be­yond the pale, to show that only the po­lit­i­cally un­ac­cept­able op­pose the drive to ever-deeper union. Do down Mr Kamin­ski, and you do down the ECR.

Have a look at those who are lead­ing the at­tack on Mr Kamin­ski: Euro-fa­nat­ics to a man.

Here in the UK, the pol­i­tics are sim­pler: Labour have grabbed what they see as an op­por­tu­nity to at­tack the Con­ser­va­tives, re­sort­ing to the smear tac­tic that is so of­ten the last re­sort of the des­per­ate.

As for the Pres­i­dent of the Board of Deputies writ­ing to David Cameron about Mr Kamin­ski: the words “judg­ment” and “cat­a­strophic lack of” spring to mind.

The per­cep­tion ex­ists within the Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship that the Jewish com­mu­nal bodies are suf­fused with Labourites. There has been much work by some se­nior fig­ures to build bridges with the Tories, given that it is odds-on that there will be a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment, and the last thing that the Board of Deputies or the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil needs is to be re­garded by a new gov­ern­ment as parti pris.

Vi­vian Wine­man has de­stroyed that work with one stroke of his pen, blun­der­ing in and send­ing his let­ter at a mo­ment which had Labour strate­gists purring with de­light — bang in the mid­dle of the Con­ser­va­tive Party con­fer­ence.

If Mr Wine­man had the slight­est po­lit­i­cal judg­ment — surely a pre­req­ui­site for a Board pres­i­dent — he would have cho­sen any other time.

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