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German-Israeli singer confesses to lying in allegations of Germany hotel's anti-Semitism

November 29, 2023 at 6:36 pm

Gil Ofarim attend the Pressball Berlin Summergala at Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin, Germany on August 17, 2019 [by Tristar Media/Getty Images]

A German-Israeli singer who accused a hotel of anti-Semitism by refusing his stay due to his Jewish identity has confessed that he made up the story, igniting condemnation from Germany’s leading Jewish organisation.

In October 2021, 41-year-old Gil Ofarim released a video on social media accusing the Westin Hotel in the German city of Leipzig of anti-Semitism, alleging that the staff had asked him to put away his Star of David necklace in order to check in.

Following extensive investigations by the Leipzig public prosecutor’s office, however, Ofarim himself was charged with defamation and the case against the hotel employee was dropped.

According to the German news agency, dpa, Ofarim finally admitted during the sixth trial day yesterday that “the allegations are true” and that he had made up the story. He apologised in court to the hotel’s manager – who accepted the apology – and stated that he had deleted the video.

He did not clarify why he had initially made up the story, though, and despite the proceedings being dropped following his confession, the singer has been ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Euros ($10,950).

The country’s leading Jewish organisation, the Central Council for Jews in Germany, condemned Ofarim for having fabricated the story and making the accusations, saying in a statement that “For two years, Gil Ofarim accused employees of a Leipzig hotel of anti-Semitism. Now he has confessed that he lied. In doing so, Gil Ofarim has caused great harm to all those who are actually affected by anti-Semitism”.

It further stated that “In the event of an accusation of anti-Semitism, it is right to stand on the side of the person concerned, to support them and not to question their experience of anti-Semitism in the first instance … Conversely, such an accusation must never be made without good reason. And that unfortunately happened here.”

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