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.
When I finally interview Michal Kaminski he is looking extremely flustered, not to say hounded, by the attention he has received during his flying visit to Conservative Party conference. The controversial leader of David Cameron’s new allies in the European Parliament has been chased into a fringe meeting by a woman from Channel 4 and to the doors of a lunch hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel. Allegations about his far-right past have quite literally pursued him to a suite at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.
The Board of Deputies has sent a letter to Conservative leader David Cameron expressing concern over his party’s rightwing European alliances.
Vivian Wineman, president of the Board, wrote to Mr Cameron raising his concerns over the past political activities of Michal Kaminski and Roberts Zile, who made appearances at the Tory conference this week.
Mr Kaminski, who is Polish, is the leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc at the European Parliament, of which the Conservative Party is a member. Mr Zile is the leader of the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom party.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent a message of goodwill to the Jewish community at Rosh Hashanah.
He said: “As we approach Rosh Hashanah I wanted to take the opportunity to wish you a good and sweet year.
“My admiration for the British Jewish community is boundless and as you gather in homes and synagogues across the country, our thoughts are with you all and we pray for a year of peace and prosperity for all the world.
A British rabbi has stepped into the controversy over the Conservatives’ allies in the European Parliament’s new centre-right group.
Rabbi Barry Marcus of London’s Central Synagogue has called into question the appointment of Polish MEP Michal Kaminski as chair of the European Conservative and Reformist Group (ECR), which now includes 25 MEPs from Britain’s Conservatives.