German singer says hotel staff asked him to hide his Star of David | Germany
German prosecutors have opened an investigation into hotel workers after a musician accused them of anti-Semitism in a video posted on social media.
Singer Gil Ofarim said in a moving video released on Tuesday that two workers at the Westin hotel in Leipzig, eastern Germany, asked him to ‘put away’ a Star of David pendant before it was allowed to register.
Two Westin employees have been suspended while the charges are investigated, a spokesperson for hotel group Marriott International said Wednesday.
Police say one of the defendants filed a defamation suit, describing the events “very differently” from the singer. The same person reported threats made against him via his Instagram account.
Ofarim dismissed the defamation claim, saying the incident happened “exactly as I portrayed it in the video”. He told Spiegel Online: “I find it shameful and sad that I still have to justify and explain myself after such an incident.”
After the video was released on Tuesday, thousands gathered outside the hotel to demonstrate in solidarity with the singer and against anti-Semitism.
German government 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.
He said it was “good and important” that the incident was made public and showed the need for more education on anti-Semitism in Germany.
Gady Gronich, the general secretary of the Conference of European Rabbis, said, “I am tired of the daily attacks on Jews, whether verbal or non-verbal, in real life or digitally.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he was “stunned” by the incident, saying such behavior had no place in Germany.
“Many Jews in our country are exposed to this anti-Semitism on a daily basis. Leipzig is not a case in itself,” he said, adding that Germans must counter any form of anti-Semitism.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in our country.