New footage published by the German newspaper Bild raises questions about an Israeli-German musician on Sunday claim he was denied service in a hotel for wearing a Star of David necklace.
The necklace around Gil Ofarim’s neck cannot be seen in security footage from the hotel in Leipzig.
Ofarim published a video on social media earlier this month accusing the Hotel Westin Leipzig of refusing to serve him because he was wearing a Star of David necklace. The video, which he titled “Anti-Semitism in Germany 2021” in capital letters, went viral and was widely distributed by anti-Semitism watchdogs and others.
“I’m speechless,” Ofarim said in the video in which he can be seen clearly with the Star of David pendant.
However, German media reported on Sunday that the police had “serious doubts” about Ofarim’s account and that surveillance footage from the hotel appeared to show that he did not have a Star of David around his neck when he tried to check into the hotel.
Get the daily edition of the Times of Israel
by email and don’t miss any top stories
By registering, you agree to the conditions
In addition, the Bild-Zeitung reported that Ofarim stated in a statement to the police that he could not remember whether he was wearing the Star of David necklace at the time, even though he claimed in his Instagram video that he was.
The musician Gil Ofarim (criminal record for assault) apparently just made up the whole story about an anti-Semitic expulsion because of his Star of David. A surveillance video shows that he wasn’t wearing it at all in the hotel. pic.twitter.com/DA0Jzujhge
– Opposing opinion ???????? (@GegenmeinungX) October 16, 2021
After waiting in line to check in, Ofarim said he asked why others who arrived after him were picked up before him. According to Ofarim, another customer replied, telling him to “remove the star.” At least one employee then told Ofarim that he would have to remove the trailer in order to receive service, the singer said.
The employee referred to by Ofarim as the “manager at the check-in counter”, whom he only called “Mr. W. “, said to him:” Put your star away [of David.]”
Ofarim, who looked visibly disturbed, said he had worn the star “all his life”.
At least 600 people, some of them with signs with the Star of David and the Muslim crescent moon, showed up at the hotel that night, reported the Leipziger Zeitung. The protesters accused the hotel staff of anti-Semitism.
A spokesman for Westin Leipzig, which belongs to the multinational Marriott, told the German publication at the time that the hotel was “deeply concerned” and was treating the case “extremely seriously.”
The Central Council of Jews in Germany said in a statement that it was “shocked” by what it called anti-Semitic behavior in the hotel. Leipzig is the largest city in Saxony, a region of Germany that is a stronghold of the country’s right-wing extremist party, Alternative für Demokratie or AfD.
The American Jewish Committee, which tweeted Ofarim’s video with English subtitles, described the incident as “heartbreaking.”
According to the AJC, one employee had been suspended, but the committee said “more needs to be done”.
It started Online petition, “Calling on Marriot not only to apologize, but to commit to training its employees about anti-Semitism.”
The hotel worker accused of anti-Semitism is now reportedly filing a counterclaim against Ofarim for defamation.
Learn Hebrew in a fun and unique way
You get Israeli news … but do you? WILL it? Here is your chance to understand not only the big picture that we cover in these pages, but also the critical, juicy details of life in Israel.
In Street-wise Hebrew for the Times of Israel Community, every month we learn several slang Hebrew phrases on a common topic. These are bite-sized audio Hebrew courses that we think you will really enjoy.
You are serious We appreciate that!
That is why we come to work every day – to offer discerning readers like you indispensable coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news agencies, we haven’t set up a paywall. However, because the journalism we conduct is costly, we invite readers to whom The Times of Israel has become important to support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For only $ 6 a month, you can support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as access to exclusive content only available to members of the Times of Israel community.
join our community
join our community