Anglo-Jewry has launched a second public attack on the government in a week. A letter published in the Daily Telegraph signed by some communal leaders called on Foreign Secretary David Miliband to withdraw accusations he made against the Conservatives’ new European allies. A number of the signatories were Tory party supporters.
Last week the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council criticised the way in which the government dealt with the controversial Goldstone Report, which criticised Israel’s actions in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. First the government did not vote at all when the report was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Then, after Mr Miliband told Jewish leaders the report should not be endorsed by the UN general assembly, Britain abstained. The Zionist Federation complained after the UN vote that Mr Miliband had been “duplicitous”.
In Poland Michal Kaminski, the leader of the new anti-federal European Conservative and Reformists group and around whom much of the controversy swirls, said Mr Miliband’s criticism of him was “unacceptable” and was a threat to Anglo-Polish relations.
Signatories to the letter in the Telegraph included former Conservative Trade S ecretary Lord Young, Tory party treasurer and chair of Westminster Synagogue Howard Leigh, European Jewish Congress board of governors chair Flo Kaufmann and educational philanthropist Benjamin Perl.
The letter and the full list of signatories is below.
Cameron’s EU allies
SIR – Many people in the Jewish community have noted with concern the recent attacks on David Cameron’s allies in eastern Europe. In particular, Michal Kaminski, the leader of the European Conservative and Reformists group in the European Parliament, and the LNNK party of Latvia have been accused of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism by opponents of the Conservative Party.
It has become increasingly obvious that these accusations are unfair, baseless and politically motivated. The Chief Rabbi of Poland has now spoken up on behalf of Michal Kaminski and has made it clear that far from being an anti-Semite, Mr Kaminski is an outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism and a friend of Israel.
The Latvian Foreign Minister has publicly criticised attacks on the LNNK and stated that “none of the ruling parties in Latvia has ever glorified Nazism”.
Anger has been expressed at the highest levels in both Poland and Latvia at what are seen as smears on respectable, mainstream politicians.
Anti-Semitism is far too grave a charge to be used as a political football. We call upon those responsible for making unsubstantiated allegations to withdraw them.
Lord Young of Graffham
Chairman, European Jewish Congress
Chairman, Westminster Synagogue
Chairman, Huntingdon Foundation
Naomi Hass Perlman