Kamin­ski row ex­plodes

Leaders at log­ger­heads

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SI­MON ROCKER

AN­GLO-JEWRY’S leaders this week mounted a dam­age lim­i­ta­tion ex­er­cise in an at­tempt to quell in­ter­nal rows over the Board of Deputies’ po­lit­i­cal com­pe­tence.

Sev­eral mem­bers of the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil were en­raged to dis­cover that the Board’s pres­i­dent, Vi­vian Wine­man, had writ­ten to Con­ser­va­tive leader David Cameron in the mid­dle of last week’s Tory con­fer­ence rais­ing queries over the party’s Euro­pean al­lies.

But al­though Mr Wine­man and Mick Davis, chair­man of the JLC ex­ec­u­tive, is­sued a state­ment deny­ing a rift and pledg­ing co-op­er­a­tion, be­hind the scenes se­nior com­mu­nity fig­ures have con­tin­ued to crit­i­cise the Board.

One said that Mr Wine­man’s po­si­tion as over­all chair­man of the JLC was now “un­ten­able”, adding that the JLC was com­posed of peo­ple “not afraid to take tough de­ci­sions”.

An­other com­mented that Mr Wine­man had “any num­ber of su­perb ad­vis­ers, all of whom are far more ex­pe­ri­enced and knowl­edge­able about such things; he didn’t speak to a sin­gle one”.

The con­tro­versy erupted over the visit to the Con­ser­va­tive con­fer­ence of Michal Kamin­ski, the Pol­ish leader of the Euro­pean Con­ser­va­tives and Re­formists group at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment — which the Bri­tish Con­ser­va­tives have joined — and his Lat­vian col­league, Roberts Zile.

The two men had been de­nounced the pre­vi­ous week by For­eign Sec­re­tary David Miliband over their al­legedly ex­treme-right as­so­ci­a­tions, which were dis­missed by the Con­ser­va­tives as smears.

This week crit­ics of Mr Wine­man main­tained that his de­ci­sion to send a let­ter to Mr Cameron seek­ing as­sur­ances about the men had sucked the Board into the midst of a party po­lit­i­cal row, dam­ag­ing links be­tween the Jewish com­mu­nity and the Con­ser­va­tives.

“The com­mu­nity is di­vided on po­lit­i­cal lines about Kamin­ski and Wine­man has put the Board of Deputies on one side of that line,” claimed one se­nior com­mu­nity fig­ure.

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