Hundreds of hotels protest after Jewish celebrity denied room over pendant

(JTA) – Several hundred people protested outside a hotel in Germany after a Jewish musician said he was denied service for wearing a Star of David pendant.

Gil Ofarim, a 39-year-old singer with dual Israeli and German nationality, posted a video on social media on Tuesday evening accusing the Westin Leipzig of denying him service because he was wearing a star necklace of David. The video, which he titled “Anti-Semitism in Germany 2021” in all capitals, has gone viral, with anti-Semitism watchdogs and others widely sharing it.

After waiting in line to check in, Ofarim asked why other people who arrived after him were admitted before him. According to Ofarim, another customer responded by telling him to “remove the star”. At least one employee then told Ofarim he had to remove the pendant to get service, the singer said.

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At least 600 people, some of them carrying signs with a Star of David and the Muslim crescent, showed up at the hotel that night, the Leipziger Zeitung reported. Protesters accused hotel staff of anti-Semitism.

A spokesperson for Westin Leipzig told DPA, a German publication, that the hotel was “deeply concerned” and was taking the matter “extremely seriously”. The hotel contacted Ofarim for more details on what happened, the spokesperson said. Leipzig police are also investigating the incident.

The hotel also posted a photo on Instagram showing a line of people holding a banner with the hotel’s name and logo, along with Israeli flags and crescents that symbolize Islam. The photo had no caption.

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The Central Council of Jews in Germany said in a statement it was “shocked” by what it called anti-Semitic behavior at the hotel. Leipzig is the largest city in Saxony, a region of Germany that is a stronghold of the country’s far-right political party, Alternative for Democracy, or AfD.

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