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German hotel workers probed over singer’s antisemitism allegations

People gather in front of the "Westin Hotel" in Leipzig, Germany, on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, to show solidarity with the musician Gil Ofarim. (Dirk Knofe/dpa via AP)
People gather in front of the "Westin Hotel" in Leipzig, Germany, on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, to show solidarity with the musician Gil Ofarim. (Dirk Knofe/dpa via AP)

FRANKFURT, Germany — German prosecutors have opened an investigation into employees at a hotel after a rock musician made accusations of antisemitism against them in a video posted on social media.

The singer Gil Ofarim said in an emotional video published yesterday 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 says today.

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

At the same time, one of the accused files 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 tells Spiegel Online.

After the video was published yesterday, thousands of individuals gathered outside the hotel to demonstrate in solidarity with the singer and against antisemitism.

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 antisemitism in Germany.

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