Guilty from the victim?
Dramatic twist in the case of Gil Ofarim
By Volker Probst
3/31/2022, 6:12 p.m.
When the news spread that Gill Ofarim had been insulted in an anti-Semitic manner at the Leipzig Hotel, there was much horror. But contradictions will soon emerge. Due to the singer’s indictment, the case now takes a 180-degree turn. Even if Ofarim is certainly considered innocent.
“Eventually there may be evidence against the witness and all proceedings will be adjourned.” This is exactly what Federal Anti-Semitism Commissioner Felix Klein said two months ago. He was referring to a legal dispute surrounding musician Gill Ofarim, who claims to have been insulted in an anti-Semitic manner at the Leipzig Hotel. Even then, Klein concluded that the case was “rather detrimental” to the anti-Semitic struggle: “When in doubt about the portrayal of Gill Ofarim, it was immediately stated on social media: ‘Jew is lying’.”
After two months, it turns out that the damage is far greater than Klein feared. Because, no, not all procedures are stopped. Only investigations against the hotel employee accused by Ofarim have been put on hold. According to Leipzig’s public prosecutor’s office, there is “no suspicion of criminal involvement” against him. The musician, on the other hand, has been accused of “false suspicion and libel”.
It was a bang and a 180 degree twist that seemed very obvious from the start. On October 5, 2021, Ofarim uploaded a video on his Instagram page in which he was shocked and angry. Not long ago, he played badly while doing a check-in at the Leipzig Hotel. Reason: David starred in a necklace. “Back to your star!”, He only said “Mr. W.” Named hotel staff required. Another guest acknowledged the anti-Semitism.
Haiko Mass “shocked”
Not only did this video spread fast. Angry citizens, politicians and the media hastily handed down the verdict. Already on the evening of October 5, 2021, about 500 people protested against anti-Semitism in front of the hotel. Heiko Moss, the then Union Foreign Minister, declared that he was “shocked” and that “Leipzig is not an isolated case.” The affair caused a great deal of controversy, with the American media CNN and the “New York Times” even reporting on it.
“Mr. W.” However, Gil Ofarim’s representation was firmly rejected and he was the first person involved in the affair to file a complaint against the singer. Charge: Slander. A few days later, the composer complained to the hotel staff and it continued. Since then, “Mr. W.” Among other things, he sought to insult, coerce, and incite hatred.
As the hotel employee described the incident in official German as “significantly different from the musician’s negligence”, Ofarim stuck to his description very diligently. “I told the truth. About the hotel, in the hotel, in front of the hotel, in the video, in the trial,” he said in an October 19, 2021 RTL interview. But there were already initial doubts about his statements at the time.
Intimidation by video?
After all, “Mr. W.” Testimony of Ofarim, but many more said they had experienced something else. “No witness heard anti-Semitic insults in the hotel lobby. No one should remember the reports about the chain with the star David,” Die Zeit was quoted as saying by a law firm’s internal investigation into the events. Instead, Ofarim misbehaved, threw out words like “shit hotel” and threatened to upload a video to the reception, which went viral.
Problem: The law firm acted on behalf of the hotel. Accordingly, Ofarim’s lawyer Markus Hennig’s “investigation report” was soon called into question. The lawyer found that the “hotel-paid investigation report” could not have contributed to the fact-finding. However the hotel is satisfied with the outcome of the investigation. It received the “Mr. W” that was initially suspended. Back to his workplace.
However, the other two things are crucial to the progress of the controversy. On the one hand, of course, the investigations of the police and the public prosecutor’s office. On the other hand, the quiet recordings made by the surveillance camera about what was happening at the hotel on the evening of October 4, 2021. Because these records also had some inconsistencies.
“I did not lie”
After all, the chain with the star David, who is said to have worn the opium and turned into a stumbling block, is nowhere to be seen in the video footage – the opium is nowhere to be seen when entering the hotel or during his conversation. Welcome, or when he leaves the building. Investigators point out that there are now “serious doubts” about the musician’s interpretations.
Ofarim, however, said he was definitely wearing the chain. However, it may have slipped under his shirt, and he agreed with a very blunt argument this time. “You can see the star with the T-shirt too. I was attacked as a Jew because I wore the star. I’m not lying, I will always wear the star,” he explained before going on: “It works here. It’s not about the chain. It’s about something really big. .I’m been insulted because I saw David wearing the star on TV. “
Is Gill Ofarim really that famous and everyone knows who he is, let alone the fact that he wears the Star of David necklace? This question can only be answered by feeling. Can the corresponding chain really slip in the surveillance camera’s recordings unpredictable even once? To find out, investigators recreated the scene with the cast at the end of 2021.
Evidence before the court
Since then, the state of affairs has been quiet. Until now. Gil Ofarim has twice been charged with libel and libel – once in his video posted online, again in his complaint against “Mr. W”.
“Evidence cannot provide details of the results of the collection and the predictable course of events because it would be an unacceptable expectation to take evidence, which is assigned to the main hearing in court,” the prosecutor’s statement said. It will be interesting to see what evidence she believes. This is also clear: unless Ofarim is proven guilty, he is certainly considered innocent.
When doubts about his portrayal increased last year, Ofarim said: “But I do not think about the fact that I can go from victim to perpetrator.” If this is unreasonable, there is no doubt that it will be a tragedy and a disaster. However, if it turns out that he discovered the incident at the hotel, that too would be catastrophic.