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DISCRIMINATION

German hotel workers probed after singer’s anti-Semitism claim

German prosecutors opened an investigation into employees at a hotel after a rock musician made accusations of anti-Semitism against them in a video posted on social media.

Gil Ofarim holds up a copy of his album
Gil Ofarim holds up a copy of his album at a press shoot in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Tobias Hase

The singer Gil Ofarim said in an emotional video published Tuesday that two employees at the Westin hotel in Leipzig, in eastern Germany, had asked him to “put away” a Star of David pendant before he would be allowed to check in.

Two employees at the Westin were subsequently suspended while the accusations are investigated, a spokeswoman for the Marriott International hotel group said on Wednesday.

“Prosecutors are currently examining the accusations made against the hotel employees,” said authorities in Leipzig.

At the same time, one of the accused filed for defamation, describing the events “very differently” to the singer, according to a spokeswoman for the police.

The same individual reported threats made against him via his Instagram account.

Ofarim rejected the defamation allegation, saying that it was “exactly like how I described it in the video”.

“I find it shameful and sad that I still have to justify and explain myself after such an incident,” he told Spiegel Online.

After the video was published on Tuesday, thousands of individuals gathered outside the hotel to demonstrate in solidarity with the singer and against anti-Semitism.

READ ALSO: Fury after Israeli fans suffer anti-semitic abuse in Berlin

The German government’s Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight against Anti-Semitism Felix Klein offered his “sympathy and solidarity” to Ofarim in an interview with the Funke media group.

It was “good and important” that the incident had been made public, Klein said, and showed the need for more “education” on anti-Semitism in Germany.

“I am tired of the daily attacks on Jews, whether verbal or non-verbal, in real life or digitally,” the general secretary of the Conference of European Rabbis Gady Gronich said.

Ofarim is the son of the singer Abi Ofarim, who died in 2018.

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CRIME

Police in Sweden block Danish extremist’s new demo

Police in western Sweden have rejected an appeal by the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan against a decision to deny him permission for a Koran-burning protest in Borås.

Police in Sweden block Danish extremist's new demo

“Rasmus Paludan has a rhetoric which is intended to create disorder and chaos,” Emelie Kullmyr, the police officer in charge of protecting this year’s General Election in Western Sweden, said in a press release.

“We have seen how the public has been exposed to serious danger and police officers have been injured. The task of the police is to ensure security and we will do that, but all positive forces need to be helped to maintain peace and order.” 

In the press release, the police emphasised the importance of the public’s right to demonstrate and express their opinions freely, but said that the right to hold public demonstrations could still be curtailed in “exceptional cases”. 

READ ALSO: 

Paludan, who aimed to hold the demonstration on April 29th, can now appeal the police’s decision at the local civil court in Borås. 

He has now applied to hold on May 1st rallies in Uppsala and Stockholm for his far-right party Stram Kurs, or “Hard Line”. 

Koran-burning demonstrations held over the Easter holidays in the cities of Norrköping, Linköping, Malmö, Örebro, and in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby, led to the worst riots Sweden has seen in decades, with 100 police officers injured.

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