Kaminski row explodes
Leaders at loggerheads
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.