US/World News

Hundreds protest German hotel after Jewish celebrity is denied room

(JTA) — Several hundred people protested in front of a hotel in Germany after Gil Ofarim, a 39-year-old singer and dual citizen of Israel and Germany, posted a video to social media Tuesday night, Oct. 5, in which he accused the Westin Leipzig hotel of denying him service because he was wearing a Star of David necklace. The video, which he titled “Antisemitism in Germany 2021,” went viral, with antisemitism watchdogs and others sharing it widely.

After waiting in line to check in, Ofarim asked why others who arrived after him were admitted before him. According to Ofarim, another customer replied telling him to “take off the star.” At least one employee then told Ofarim he needed to remove the pendant to get service, the singer said. At least 600 people accusing the hotel staff of antisemitism, some of them carrying signs with a Star of David and the Muslim crescent, showed up at the hotel that night, Leipziger Zeitung reported.

A spokesperson for Westin Leipzig told DPA, a German publication, that the hotel was “deeply concerned” and was regarding the case “extremely seriously.” The hotel has reached out to Ofarim to hear more details about what happened, the spokesperson said. Leipzig police are also looking into the incident. The hotel also posted a picture to Instagram that showed a line of people holding a banner with the hotel’s name and logo as well as Israeli flags and crescents that symbolize Islam. 

Leipzig is the largest city in Saxony, a region of Germany that is a stronghold for the country’s far-right political party, Alternative for Democracy or AfD.

Main Photo: Gil Ofarim, a German-Israeli singer, said in a video posted to social media that he had been denied a hotel room in Leipzig, Germany, after being told to hide his Jewish star necklace. (Screenshot from Instagram video)

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