Min­is­ter didn’t know about MEP row un­til he read about it in the JC

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MIRIAM SHA­VIV

THE IS­RAELI politi­cian who hosted the con­tro­ver­sial MEP at the heart of the row over David Cameron’s al­liance in Europe has ad­mit­ted he was not aware of the MEP’s con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about Jews — un­til he read them in the JC this week.

Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Danny Ayalon, who met Pol­ish MEP Michal Kamin­ski in Is­rael this sum­mer, said:“I knew him as a staunch sup­porter of Is­rael who up­holds demo­cratic val­ues and be­lieves in a strong re­sponse to ter­ror­ism. This was our ba­sis for the meet­ing.”

Asked­when­hefirstlearned­about­the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing Mr Kamin­ski, which has been rag­ing for months, he said: “I just saw it this morn­ing at your of­fice, in your pa­per. It was the first time I saw it. I had no clue. I am not fol­low­ing too closely in­ter­nal Euro­pean pol­i­tics. To­day is the first time I heard about it.”

MrKamin­skilead­s­theEuro­peanCon­ser­va­tives and Re­formists bloc in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. He has been chal­lenged by Jewish groups for say­ing, in 2001, that the Pol­ish na­tion should no more apol­o­gise for the 1941 mas­sacre of Jews in the town of Jed­wabne than “the whole Jewish na­tion [should apol­o­gise] for what some Jewish Com­mu­nists did in Poland”.

He has also been crit­i­cised for wear­ing, in the past, the Chro­bry Sword, a sym­bol of the Catholic ul­tra-right in Poland.

Mr Ayalon met Mr Kamin­ski in Septem­ber in a visit or­gan­ised by the Con­ser­va­tive Friends of Is­rael. The meet­ing has been taken as an in­di­ca­tion the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment ap­proved of Mr Kamin­ski, who is known in Brus­sels as an Is­rael sup­porter.

Re­gard­ing Mr Kamin­ski’s com­ments on Jed­wabne, Mr Ayalon said: “I don’t know if he said it or not. Any such as­ser­tion is morally rep­re­hen­si­ble and un­ac­cept­able to­tally. Any­one who said it, even by mis­take, should re­tract it, ex­plain and apol­o­gise.

“But as a mat­ter of prac­tice, we shouldn’t shoot from the hip. I wouldn’t mind at all to pick up the phone and dis­cuss this with him di­rectly. If I hear some­thing is not right, I will ask for a clar­i­fi­ca­tion or apol­ogy. Friend­ship is about this, some­times there are mis­un­der­stand­ings.”

He added that it took “courage” for Mr Kamin­ski to stand up for Is­rael in Brus­sels.

Mr Ayalon’s spokesman later phoned the JC to em­pha­sise that Mr Kamin­ski was “a good friend of Is­rael, a staunch friend of Is­rael, es­pe­cially in the EU par­lia­ment. We un­der­stand that an­tisemitism needs to be fought in ev­ery arena, es­pe­cially in the UK. “Kamin­ski is prob­a­bly one of our best friends in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.”

Danny Ayalon: un­aware

Michal Kamin­ski: no apol­ogy

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.