German hotel workers probed after singer’s anti-Semitism claim

Gil Ofarim holds up a copy of his album
Gil Ofarim holds up a copy of his album at a press shoot in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Tobias Hase
German prosecutors opened an investigation into employees at a hotel after a rock musician made accusations of anti-Semitism against them in a video posted on social media.

The singer Gil Ofarim said in an emotional video published Tuesday that two employees at the Westin hotel in Leipzig, in eastern Germany, had asked him to “put away” a Star of David pendant before he would be allowed to check in.

Two employees at the Westin were subsequently suspended while the accusations are investigated, a spokeswoman for the Marriott International hotel group said on Wednesday.

“Prosecutors are currently examining the accusations made against the hotel employees,” said authorities in Leipzig.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

At the same time, one of the accused filed for defamation, describing the events “very differently” to the singer, according to a spokeswoman for the police.

The same individual reported threats made against him via his Instagram account.

Ofarim rejected the defamation allegation, saying that it was “exactly like how I described it in the video”.

“I find it shameful and sad that I still have to justify and explain myself after such an incident,” he told Spiegel Online.

After the video was published on Tuesday, thousands of individuals gathered outside the hotel to demonstrate in solidarity with the singer and against anti-Semitism.

READ ALSO: Fury after Israeli fans suffer anti-semitic abuse in Berlin

The German government’s Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight against Anti-Semitism Felix Klein offered his “sympathy and solidarity” to Ofarim in an interview with the Funke media group.

It was “good and important” that the incident had been made public, Klein said, and showed the need for more “education” on anti-Semitism in Germany.

“I am tired of the daily attacks on Jews, whether verbal or non-verbal, in real life or digitally,” the general secretary of the Conference of European Rabbis Gady Gronich said.

Ofarim is the son of the singer Abi Ofarim, who died in 2018.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.