The leader of German Jewry has said that Germany’s Party of Democratic Socialism may share the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist views of its predecessor, the Communist Party of East Germany.
In an interview published over the weekend in the Neue Osnabruecke Zeitung, Ignatz Bubis, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, urged “all democratic parties” to distance themselves from the Democratic Socialists.
Charging that the politics of the leadership of the former East Germany was stained with racism, Bubis said the successors to the Communist Party had failed until now to disengage themselves completely from the policies of their parent party.
“With the followers of (former East German President Erich) Honecker, one cannot tell whether they just adapt or whether they have been persuaded (to change their ways),” said Bubis.
As a result, he suggested, Germans should doubt whether the Democratic Socialists had really reformed their positions.
Bubis made the comments in the midst of a public debate here over the legitimacy of the Democratic Socialists, who scored a respectable showing in Germany’s parliamentary elections last month. The party had 30 members elected to serve in the 672-member Bundestag, or lower house of Parliament.
The leadership of the party was not available for comment over the weekend, but some party members rejected the charges as “ridiculous.”
They claimed that the Communists of the former East Germany reversed their negative attitudes toward Israel and to Judaism as far back as 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell amid the drive for German reunification.