With friends like these, will it end in tears?

Polish politician's photocall with Jewish Tories aimed at ending anti-Semite accusations

Next Tuesday evening, in a reception room at a Manchester hotel, the controversial Polish politician Michal Kaminski is expected to shake hands with members of Conservative Friends of Israel.

The image will be a gift to David Cameron, who is fighting a growing row over accusations concerning the anti-Semitic past of Mr Kaminski, the man who is now the Tory leader's greatest ally in Europe.

It will also be an attempt to rebuff Mr Kaminski's critics, who include the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. This will be proof that he is not an anti-Semite, the Tories will say.

Last week, Mr Miliband attacked the Tories for aligning themselves with Mr Kaminski and a Latvian party accused of glorifying Nazism. In turn, William Hague, his Tory shadow, demanded an apology for the "slur".

However, the real story is more complex. Jewish leaders in Britain and Poland have expressed concern about Mr Kaminski's dubious past, particularly the active part he played in a campaign to oppose a Polish apology for a massacre of Jews during the Second World War.

Opponents and defenders of the politician are falling behind Labour and Tory party lines. The Jewish community is divided over the issue.

What is certain is that the increasingly bitter row has ensured that Europe, the graveyard of past Tory leaders, is set to overshadow what is supposed to be the conference at which Mr Cameron is anointed as prime-minister-in-waiting.

Margaret Thatcher was forced from power after losing the confidence of pro-Europeans in her cabinet; John Major was weakened by Maastricht rebellions and William Hague ran a disastrous 2001 election campaign on the basis of keeping the pound.

During his leadership, Mr Cameron has managed to avoid similar rows – but Europe is still toxic for the party.

In January, Mr Cameron appointed the Europhile Kenneth Clarke to the Shadow Cabinet – insisting that the old wounds over Europe had healed. Yet he and Mr Hague were already in talks with parties about the formation of a new European alliance, a development that has seen the Tories link up with parties which are anti-gay rights and accused of glorifying the Nazis.

Mr Cameron's alliance with Mr Kaminski's Polish Law and Justice (PiS) Party, the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom Party and the Czech ODS Party was forged out of necessity. In 2005, when running for the leadership, he promised to leave the mainstream European People's Party of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy in exchange for support from Eurosceptic Tory MPs whose votes were crucial in clinching his victory. Mr Kaminski is now the head of the new alliance, European Conservatives and Reformists.

But Mr Cameron has faced widespread alarm at revelations that the PiS has campaigned against gay rights, and that his Latvian allies participate in an annual event commemorating the Latvian Waffen SS. Most damaging is the revelation that Mr Kaminski of the PiS campaigned against an apology for Jedwabne, a horrific atrocity perpetrated in July 1941, when 1,600 Jews were rounded up and burnt alive.

When questioned about his role in the campaign earlier this year, Mr Kaminski at first denied taking part. He changed tack after it emerged from an interview with Nasza Polska, a Polish newspaper, that he had said Poland should apologise only if "someone from the Jewish side will apologise for what the Jews did during the Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1941".

Roberts Zile, of the For Fatherland and Freedom Party, will join Mr Kaminski at a fringe event on the EU in Manchester this week.

Last week, Mr Miliband criticised the Tory chairman, Eric Pickles, for suggesting that Latvians who joined the Waffen SS were only "conscripts" when in fact many were enthusiastic volunteers responsible for war crimes.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?