German Foreign Minister condemns anti-Semitic insults reported to musician | World news


BERLIN (Reuters) – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday he was shocked by an anti-Semitic insult that a Jewish musician said he suffered in a hotel in Leipzig and that such behavior was not relevant. place in Germany.

In a case that hit the national headlines, Gil Ofarim, 39, posted a video on social media Tuesday evening accusing the Westin Leipzig hotel in eastern Germany of denying him service because he was wearing a Star of David necklace.

The hotel said in a statement it was concerned and alarmed about the incident and had suspended two employees.

“I am stunned by the anti-Semitic insult that artist Gil Ofarim received,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday evening, according to a speech.

“Many Jews in our country are exposed to this anti-Semitism every day. Leipzig is not a case in itself,” he said, adding that the Germans must fight against all forms of anti-Semitism.

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“Anti-Semitism has no place in our country.”

In Ofarim’s post which appeared to show him outside the hotel, the musician described how he was told to remove his Star of David pendant if he wanted to be served in a long line of recording, and said, “I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say.”

A spokesperson for the Leipzig police said that one of the hotel employees’ description of the events differed from the musician’s account and that he had filed a defamation complaint.

Several hundred people, some wrapped in the Israeli flag, gathered outside the hotel on Tuesday evening to protest anti-Semitism.

Politicians have warned that anti-Jewish sentiment is on the rise in Germany. The issue remains very sensitive more than 70 years after the end of the Nazi Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed.

Maas said Germany will spend more than € 1 billion over the next four years to fight right-wing radicalism, racism and anti-Semitism. “We must not look away if someone is subjected to an anti-Semitic insult,” he said.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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