PATRIOT OR UN­SAVOURY NA­TION­AL­IST? CLASH­ING CLAIMS FOR KAMIN­SKI

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

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 ri­cooper@ntl­world.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

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