Just when you think the uproar over the Conservative Party’s relationship with Michal Kaminski has fizzled out, it is set alight again by claims from the Tory-supporting right.
Into my inbox today came a press release from Total Politics, the outfit funded by the controversial Tory fundraiser Michael Ashcroft, advertising an interview by the Tory candidate Iain Dale with Michal Kaminski, chair of the new Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament, which includes the 24 Tory MEPs.
Referring to a story I wrote, which I see is reproduced here by the European Jewish Congress, which provided some of the quotes, the release says Kaminski “accuses the New Statesman of shoddy journalism over its recent story attributing comments to Rabbi Schudrich [Chief Rabbi of Poland], which he says he never made”,
In the interview itself, Kaminski says that the chief rabbi “has nothing against me and does not regard me as an anti-Semite”.
So, did I make up the quotation? It is time to reproduce the email in full:
From: Michael Schudrich [mailto:xxxx]
Sent: 27 July 2009 18:21
To: James Macintyre
Subject: Re: Quote request
I do not comment on political decisions. However, it is clear that Mr Kaminski was a member of NOP, a group that is openly far right and neo-nazi. Anyone who would want to align himself with a person who was an active member of NOP and the Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne (which was established to deny historical facts of the massacre at Jedwabne) needs to understand with what and by whom he is being represented.
While we’re at it, here is the email from Rabbi Marcus, one of London’s most influential rabbis:
From: Rabbi Marcus [xxxx]
Sent: 28 July 2009 15:43
To: James Macintyre
Subject: RE: Quote request
I would be happy to say the following-
Any politician of any political party should have the moral courage to clearly distance themselves from those who espouse and promote anti Semitism, racism or any attitude that fosters intolerance.
Here, finally, is the quotation from the European Jewish Congress:
We remain extremely vigilant. We have communicated [our concerns about] this to the president of the EPP [Wilfried Martens] and the new elected parliament president [Jerzy Buzek, the former Polish prime minister].
We know [politicians such as Kaminski] to make racist comments even in parliamentary gatherings. We are alarmed at the fact that they are given a venue to be outspoken. I would call on the British Jewish community to contact David Cameron over this.
It should be noted meanwhile that, in an interview with the Jewish Chronicle today, Kaminski “stands by” his attack on Poland’s apology over the 1941 Jewish massacre at Jedwabne.
Now, I know the Conservative Party’s press officers have been doing all they can to persuade Jewish leaders to retract their statements. I know at least one Tory press officer has been attempting dishonestly to smear me personally as a result of this story: a seperate tale for another time. And I know Daniel Hannan, the Tory MEP, has been pretending the Jewish statements only come from “Labour”. But, given these emails above, can we now just accept that the quotes speak for themselves?