Jewish leaders slam British minister over anti-Semitic row
David Miliband drew criticism last month after attacking the "anti-semitic, Neo-Nazi" past of Michael Kaminski, leader of the anti-federalist Law and Justice group in the European Parliament.
London -- Jewish leaders accused British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Monday of playing "political football" with anti-Semitism, in controversial remarks about a Polish party leader.
Miliband drew criticism last month after attacking the "anti-semitic, Neo-Nazi" past of Michael Kaminski, leader of the anti-federalist Law and Justice group in the European Parliament.
Kaminski's party is in a new right-wing bloc in the EU assembly which also includes Britain's opposition Conservatives, whose leader David Cameron hopes to oust the ruling Labour Party in elections next year.
"Many people in the Jewish community have noted with concern the recent attacks on David Cameron’s allies in eastern Europe," said 27 Jewish leaders in a letter to the Daily Telegraph.
"It has become increasingly obvious that these accusations are unfair, baseless and politically motivated," they said, noting that Poland's chief rabbi had defended Kaminski, saying he was a "friend of Israel."
And they added: "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."
The letter was signed by Jewish leaders including Flo Kaufmann, chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Jewish Congress and Howard Leigh, the chairman of Westminster Synagogue, among others.
The British minister is tipped as a leading candidate for a new EU foreign minister job created under the 27-nation bloc's just-ratified Lisbon Treaty, along with a full-time EU president.
Miliband has denied he is running for the EU job, but speculation that he could be named as early as this week has persisted, fuelled by signs that ex premier Tony Blair's hopes of winning the EU presidency job have waned.