Rabbi Schudrich: 'Grotesque distortion' over comments
Yesterday's programme featured a discussion between the Foreign Secretary David Miliband and the shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, during which reference was made to alleged negative comments about Michal Kaminski of Poland's Law and Justice party, an ally of the Conservative Party in the European Parliament.
These comments, allegedly made by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, in an article by James McIntyre entitled
"Exclusive: Jewish leaders turn on Cameron's Tories"
, published in The New Statesman on 29 July this year. This article stated that Mr Kaminski had condemned a previous Polish president for apologising for the massacre of hundreds of Jews in the Polish town of Jedwabne in July 1941.
In this morning's discussion, the Foreign Secretary referred to a email from Rabbi Schudrich to Mr Mcintyre, quoted in the New Statesman article.
In this, the rabbi wrote: "Dear James, 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."
Today, the programme revealed that Rabbi Scudrich had sought to clarify his position further.
In an email sent yesterday to the British think-tank Policy Exchange and passed on to the programme, Rabbi Schudrich said: "There is no doubt that Kaminski is a strong friend of the State of Israel. He himself has spoken out against anti-Semitism on several occasions during the past decade.
"It is a grotesque distortion that people are quoting me to prove that Kaminski is an anti-Semite. Portraying Kaminski as a neo Nazi plays into the painful and false stereotype that all Poles are anti-Semitic.
"I would also like to clarify that the headline of James Macintyre article of July 29, 2009 entitled:
"Jewish Leaders Turn on Cameron's Tories: Poland's chief rabbi and others call on Cameron to sever ties with Polish MEP"
does not represent what I said to the author. I made no political statement and this headline is misleading and untrue."