German-Israeli singer Gil Ofarim claimed in October that he was subjected to antisemitic discrimination at the Westin Leipzig hotel in Germany, but doubts were raised about his account, and he was indicted on March 31 by the Leipzig public prosecutor’s office.
In October, 2021, 39-year-old German-Israeli singer Gil Ofarim claimed that he was subjected to antisemitic discrimination at the Westin Leipzig hotel in Germany. According to the pop star, he was denied service because of wearing a David Star necklace. He posted his own video to social media purporting to show that a hotel employee refuses to give him a room. The accusation went viral, and Jews and others protested outside the hotel on his behalf. The employee was temporarily suspended.
Nevertheless, doubts were raised about Ofarim’s account. The hotel shared its own security camera footage with German news media, in which there was no star of David pendant to be seen around Ofarim’s neck. At the time, Ofarim said he didn’t remember if the pendant had been over or under his shirt, but he claimed: “it’s about being Jewish in general.”
After a months-long investigation, the state prosecutor found Ofarim’s accusations to be false. The investigation of the hotel employee was dropped on March 31, and charges were filed against Ofarim, for posting his video knowing it would damage the reputation of the hotel employee in question. They said Ofarim had lied when reporting the incident to police, and that – when the employee then sued him for defamation – Ofarim countersued despite knowing that his accusations were false.
Ofarim was indicted on March 31 by the Leipzig public prosecutor’s office. It is now up to the Leipzig Regional Court to decide whether to proceed with a trial. The governor of the state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, said Ofarim had not only discredited those he accused, but also “damaged the Jewish community.” He said it was “shocking and deeply despicable” to misuse the charge of antisemitism “for false statements and slander.”
According to Germany’s commissioner on antisemitism, Felix Klein, the incident has prompted more antisemitism. “It coursed through social media: ‘The Jew lies’…The whole thing has been damaging.”