German Hotel Suspends Workers After Alleged Antisemitic Incident, Probe Launched

The Westin Hotel in Leipzig, Germany, has suspended employees and German prosecutors have opened an internal probe after Jewish musician Gil Ofarim said he was discriminated against because he was wearing a Star of David necklace, CNN reports.

Ofarim, who is a dual Israeli and German citizen, posted a video on Instagram last week in which he said a hotel employee allowed others to skip him in line, then told him to “pack up his star” before permitting him to check in to the hotel.

Police said one of the hotel employees filed a defamation complaint, saying the incident happened “very differently” to what Ofarim said.

In response, Ofarim said, “I find it shameful and sad that I still have to justify and explain myself after such an incident.”

Andreas Hachmeister, the general manager of the hotel, told CNN that “we are worried about this report and take the incident very seriously.”

He added that “our goal is to integrate, support and respect all our guests and employees no matter which religion they believe in. The employees concerned have been suspended and we will clarify the issue without compromises. We are a cosmopolitan, international hotel and reject all kind of discrimination.”

After Ofarim made his complaint public, some 600 people protested in front of the hotel accusing the staff of antisemitism, according to JTA.

Some of the demonstrators carried signs with a Star of David and the Muslim crescent.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany said in a statement it was “shocked” by what it said was antisemitic behavior at the hotel.

Leipzig is the largest city in Saxony, where the far-right political party Alternative for Democracy has significant influence.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told The Guardian that “many Jews in our country are exposed to this anti-Semitism every day. Leipzig is not a case on its own,” adding that “anti-Semitism has no place in our country.”

Ofarim, who is 39 years old, has played in two rock bands and has released music in both German and English, DW reported.

He won “Let’s Dance,” the German version of the celebrity ballroom dancing show Dancing with the Stars, in 2017 and has also acted in several television shows, as well as carrying out voiceover work for dubbed films.

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