PATRIOT OR UNSAVOURY NATIONALIST? CLASHING CLAIMS FOR KAMINSKI
In many ways, Michal Kaminski is the mirror image of Ken Livingstone who, I believe, would have defended a British victim of antisemitism as passionately as the victim of any other type of racism, but who hated Zionism with all the fervour of a Comintern veteran.
Mr Kaminski, on the other hand, supports Israel because he sees in it a bulwark against the Islamism which he views as threatening his homogenous, Christian Europe. He may claim that antisemitism contradicts both his Christianity and his conservatism but it was the progressive Enlightenment, revolting against both these tendencies, that gave Europe’s Jews civil rights.
Far from showing lack of nous, Vivian Wineman shows exemplary shrewdness in asking for reassurances about Michal Kaminski and Latvia’s Roberts Zile. He does not condemn the Tories out of hand: his language is open and invites dialogue. I look forward to hearing their response. Richard Cooper email@example.com
The assertion that the Polish Government should be required to give a blanket apology on behalf of a minority who carried out atrocities is equivalent to certain sections of the British community believing that we should all collectively go into sackcloth and ashes because of the comparatively few Britons who 200-plus years ago were slave-traders.
The smears perpetrated against Michal Kaminski seem more typical of Soviet propaganda rather than of a 21st-century Western democracy.
I am both a Jew and a Conservative. I was delighted to meet Mr Kaminski at our recent conference in Manchester and proud to have shaken the hand of a young man who loves his country and loves the West and our democratic values. Sally Roberts Black Lion Lane, London W6
Oh, to have been a fly-on-the-wall at last week’s JC editorial meeting. The paper’s editor defends the Conservative Party’s alliance with the Polish nationalist MEP Michal Kaminski, dismissing critics of this alliance as “Eurofanatics… resorting to the smear tactic” ( JC, October 9). But the JC’s recently appointed political editor, after an extended interview with Kaminski, is clear that “dismissing concerns raised about Mr Kaminski as Labour smears is just not good enough.”
On March 20 2001, Kaminski gave an interview to the nationalist Nasza Polska newspaper in which it is said he stated that Poland should not apologise for the murder of the Jews of Jedwabne until Jews apologised for “murdering Poles” during the Soviet wartime occupation of Poland.
If Mr Kaminski and his supporters choose to forget, deny or misrepresent his stated views — and are dulled to the moral vacuity of his words — that is one thing, sadly unexceptional when political ambition makes such sleight-of-hand commonplace. But for the editor of this distinguished newspaper actively to collude with and promote this chicanery marks a new moral low for the JC and does AngloJewry a disservice. (Rabbi) Howard Cooper Lansdowne Rd, London N3
In picking a public fight with the Conservative Party in the week of their party conference and less than a year before they are likely to form the next government, Vivian Wineman has proven to be an embarrassment to British Jewry.
Given Mr Wineman’s recent public comments playing down the level of antisemitism stirring in this country, particularly in the wake of Israel’s long overdue and justified self defence of its citizens against the remorseless rocket attacks from Gaza, one cannot help be struck by the contrast in attitudes. David Saul Jesmond Way, Stanmore, Middlesex
I was appalled by Stephen’s Pollard criticism of the President of the Board of Deputies, Vivian Wineman for writing to David Cameron expressing his concern that Michal Kaminski had been invited to attend the Conservative party conference, and about the Latvian Roberts Zile.
In my view, the timing was correct, as it was necessary to bring home to the delegates their leader’s decision to ally themselves to a man who has issued such dubious statements as that declaring the Jedwabne massacre of Polish Jews by Poles to be on a par with Jewish partisans allegedly working with the Soviets against Poles.
Shouldn’t Kaminski be aware that many antisemitic Poles collaborated with the Nazis to exterminate the Jews?
Stephen Pollard describes Kaminski as a friend to the Jews — with friends like him who needs enemies? Tony Halle Hedge Lane, London N13