Enlarge image

Gil Ofarim: Confession in court

Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / dpa

When Gil Ofarim released a video in October 2021 accusing a hotel employee of anti-Semitism, numerous people jumped to his side. In the meantime, it is clear that the musician lied. Now, after his confession, some of them have spoken out again.

The deputy chairwoman of the CDU, Karin Prien, who had demanded the dismissal of the hotel employee, told the "Stern": "I have taken note of Gil Ofarim's confession with shock." He continued: "I am sorry that I believed his lie so easily and I can only sincerely apologize to the employee concerned and his hotel." The accusation of anti-Semitism and racism is rightly associated with social contempt. "With every new victim, there is now a danger that perpetrators and society will point to him and his lie."

Saxony's Minister of Social Affairs, Petra Köpping (SDP), also admitted that she was wrong, as reported by MDR, among others: "He has done a disservice to the cause. It is very presumptuous to act in this way on this issue, which is particularly sensitive in Germany. I wouldn't have guessed that, and I'm very sorry."

Actress Susan Sideropoulos told the Bild newspaper: "For my reality, it is so far away that someone could tell the untruth in such a case, so I don't regret that I believed the apparent victim at the beginning," said the 43-year-old. It is "incredibly sad and shameful" that there are people who exploit abuses such as anti-Semitism to gain an advantage.

Comedian Oliver Pocher, on the other hand, claimed in an Instagram video that he had doubts from the beginning. Ofarim's behaviour was "unsurpassable in audacity". That's a pity, he says, "especially today, when anti-Semitism is such a huge problem."

The Central Council of Jews had condemned the singer's behavior shortly after the confession. Ofarim had "caused great harm to all those who are actually affected by anti-Semitism." Such an accusation should never be made without ground. "He must face the consequences of his lie in every way."

According to his lawyer, the affected hotel manager is happy that "the truth could be brought to light." Lawyer Daniel Bäumgärtner did not give details on the amount of damages: "We are satisfied with the conclusion so far and it will stay that way," he said. "Nothing better could have happened to us."

Ofarim had surprisingly admitted on Tuesday in a trial for defamation and false suspicion at the Leipzig Regional Court that the accusations of the prosecution against him were true. He apologized to the hotel manager, whom he had accused of anti-Semitism in a viral video. The musician has to pay 10,000 euros to the Israelite religious community of Leipzig, the proceedings have been discontinued.

According to its own statements, the municipality has long discussed whether it should accept the amount of money allocated by the court at all. "Gil Ofarim's behavior was not kosher at all. Therefore, the money is negatively burdened," said the chairman of the Israelite religious community of Leipzig, Küf Kaufmann, the news agency dpa.

In the end, they decided to accept the money. "We will use it for the deepening and dissemination of interreligious work."