German-Jewish singer targeted with hate messages after hotel incident

Gil Ofarim reportedly filed criminal complaint after Westin Hotel employee refused him service over Jewish star necklace.

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner

Speaking to German media Monday, Gil Ofarim described the hate messages and personal threats he has received since the German Jewish singer-songwriter publicly reported an alleged antisemitic incident in a hotel in the city of Leipzig.

In a video posted on Instagram last week, Ofarim described how he was told by an employee at the Westin Hotel Leipzig to remove his Star of David necklace so that he can proceed with the check-in.

Ofarim told live German TV show “Zervakis & Opdenhövel” on Monday night that he had made himself a target by making the incident public.

“I am still speechless and shocked, but at the same time not surprised,” said the 39-year-old. “I have hardly switched on my cellphone over the past week. I have been getting open threats and hate messages via social media channels.”

“I got a message that said, ‘At the next cleanup, you will be first in line my friend,” Ofarim disclosed.

Ofarim recounted that earlier this week he played in a theater and “suddenly the police stood in my dressing room and asked for information about where I was going to spend the night. None of this made sense to me. Then I was escorted by the very friendly officers. A bus in front of me, a bus behind me.”

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At the same time, Ofarim acknowledged that he receives a “lot of solidarity,” but raised the question of his disclosure will ultimately change, once the media attention dissipates. “What remains of it? Does it change anything? I don’t know. I would like it to.”

Antisemitism has “now arrived in the middle of society. And that must not be the case,” Ofarim warned.

“Especially when you experience something like that, you have to open your mouth and do something about it and say something,” he urged.

In the latest turn of events, Ofarim is said to have filed a criminal complaint against the Westin Hotel employee on Tuesday after testifying before a public prosecutor about the incident.

Meanwhile, the Westin hotel chain began an internal investigation and has placed the two employees at the center of the allegations on leave. One of the employees is reported to have filed a complaint with local police for defamation and the receipt of threats after giving a “very different” account of the encounter with Ofarim. The police are still investigating the case.