In response to the troubling news that the German-Jewish singer Gil Ofarim was discriminated at the Westin Hotel in Leipzig, Germany because he was prominently wearing a Star of David necklace, American Jewish Congress Executive Director Joel Rubin released the following statement:

The American Jewish Congress condemns this antisemitic incident and we have reached out to Mr. Ofarim to thank him for his strong words and powerful personal example in standing up to discrimination and antisemitism. We stand in solidarity with him. 

Antisemitism is a threat to all of our societies and to our democracy. It remains pervasive in the United States and is also experiencing a resurgence abroad, particularly in Europe. Unfortunately, Germany is no exception and is seeing far-right political parties gain electoral legitimacy once again. We are grateful to the German government for standing up to this gathering danger and to the U.S. State Department for stepping aggressively into the fray to counter it.

We at the American Jewish Congress are proud to do our part in this struggle and are grateful to the State Department for inviting us to speak in Germany against antisemitism, for leading the charge against this most insidious of hates. More must – and will – be done.”

Currently, Rubin is in Germany and today he will be heading to Leipzig, where he will meet with Chief Rabbi Zsolt Balla and discuss Ofarim’s antisemitic incident. Rubin’s trip to Germany is part of a program organized by the U.S. State Department in collaboration with both the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and the U.S. Consulate in Leipzig. 

The program is focused on promoting efforts to counter antisemitism and extremism, and to support democracy. During this week there Rubin has had multiple engagements throughout Germany including:

  • Meeting with the Mayor of Jena to discuss the ability of local leadership to transform cities into welcoming environments for minorities.
  • Discussion with the Berlin Police on the role of law enforcement in deterring and preventing antisemitic hate crimes.
  • Meeting with Anetta Kahane and Tahera Ameer from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation to discuss transnational nature of antisemitic and white supremacist threats.
  • Lecture at the University of Leipzig for a discussion “Global Ideologies, Global Hatred”.
  • Panel discussion at the University of Jena focused on U.S.-Germany cooperation to counter antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
  • Conversation with representatives of the City of Cottbus to discuss fighting antisemitism by promoting education, inter-cultural dialogue, and inter-religious coexistence.

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