HATE HOAX: Israeli-German Singer Admits He Lied About Hotel Discriminating Against Him for Being Jewish

Chris Menahan
Nov. 28, 2023

Jewish singer Gil Ofarim, a 41-year-old dual citizen of Israel and Germany, admitted in court on Tuesday that he made up a fake viral story about a hotel in Liepzig, Germany discriminating against him for wearing a Star of David necklace two years ago.

Surveillance video showed the necklace wasn't even visible during his check-in.

From The Times of Israel, "German-Israeli singer admits in court to inventing hotel antisemitism claim":
A German-Israeli singer admitted in court on Tuesday to having lied when he accused two hotel employees of antisemitism in a viral video posted online two years ago.

Gil Ofarim, 41, shared an emotional account on social media in October 2021 accusing staff at an upscale hotel in the eastern city of Leipzig of asking him to "put away" a Star of David pendant before checking in.

The post was shared thousands of times, raising alarm about resurgent anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany eight decades after the end of the Holocaust.

However, investigators in a probe found "no evidence" to back up the allegation that led to the suspension of two hotel employees, and they filed defamation charges against Ofarim last year.

In surprise testimony Tuesday, Ofarim admitted to the accusations, saying he had made up the story and asking the hotel staff for forgiveness.
Rather than pay restitution to the hotel workers he slandered, Ofarim was allowed by the state to work out a "plea bargain with prosecutors" to have him "donate 10,000 euros ($11,000) to Leipzig's Jewish community and the House of the Wannsee Conference, a Holocaust education center, the court said in a statement."
The manager, a co-plaintiff in the case against Ofarim, said he accepted the apology, closing the case.

Under the terms of a plea bargain with prosecutors, Ofarim agreed to donate 10,000 euros ($11,000) to Leipzig's Jewish community and the House of the Wannsee Conference, a Holocaust education center, the court said in a statement.
Somehow the Jewish community became the real victims in this case, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:
The Central Council of Jews in Germany, the country's main Jewish administrative organization, issued a statement condemning Ofarim's behavior and calling on him to "face the consequences of his lie in every way." The group said the harm he has done has gone far beyond the hotel and clerk he has admitted to slandering.

"Gil Ofarim has caused great harm to all those who are actually affected by antisemitism," the group said in a statement. "In addition to the public, he also lied to the Jewish community."

The group, which had initially defended Ofarim, said it was appropriate to side with those who say they have experienced antisemitism but that false accusations were egregious.

"We have an antisemitism problem in our society; many are unsettled, especially in the current heated social situation, and are experiencing hatred and rejection of Jews," the group said. "It is right to stand on the side of the person affected in the event of an accusation of antisemitism, to support them and not to initially question their experience of antisemitism. Conversely, such an accusation must never be made without justification. And unfortunately that's what happened here."
Though Ofarim is getting off scot-free, a random German man who made what appears to be a sarcastic comment at Ofarim's expense on the internet in 2022 was sentenced to prison for violating Germany's "laws prohibiting antisemitic speech."

As JTA reports:
Last year, a German man was sentenced to seven months in prison for leaving a hateful comment about Ofarim in response to a news story about him. The comment, "In Buchenwald he would have liked to be seen with his Star of David," referred to the Nazi concentration camp and ran afoul of Germany's strict -- and at times divisive -- laws prohibiting antisemitic speech.
Who are the real victims in this story?

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