Trial nears verdict in LA hotel 'anti-Semitism' case

Muslim owner of Shangri-La says that the participants in a pro-Israeli event were trespassing; plaintiffs hope for guilty verdict.

LA 311 (photo credit: Arthur Wolak)
LA 311
(photo credit: Arthur Wolak)
The trial of a hotel owner in Los Angeles accused of discriminating against organizers of a Friends of the IDF event is nearing a verdict.
Final arguments in the lawsuit against Tehmina Adaya, the owner of the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica, a well-known hangout for Hollywood players, were heard on Wednesday and the jury is expected to deliver a verdict soon.
Plaintiffs said they hoped Adaya will be found guilty of racial bias for her conduct on July 11, 2010, when she allegedly used epithets against Jews while pulling the plug on a fund-raiser for the Israeli army held at the Shangri-La.
“She not only discriminated but attempted to take away my civil rights,” one of the claimants, who asked not to be named, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“Standing up for what is right is difficult and this has been very difficult. At the end of the day, we stand by our convictions and do what we think is right. We are all very proud we’ve taken the steps we’ve taken as Jews.”
Lawyers defending Adaya, who is the daughter of Pakistani real estate mogul Ahmed Adaya, deny the allegations against her, saying the pool party event was closed as it was not properly booked. Lawyers representing Adaya did not respond to emails from the Post on Wednesday.
The trial has been closely covered in Jewish and non- Jewish media since it began 14 days ago. Plaintiffs say the fund-raiser had been planned well in advance and that staff members had actively taken part in preparing for it.
“[They] were busy all day helping set up the event and providing towels,” an organizer said. “Staff was aware the event was happening.”
According to the plaintiffs, when Adaya, who is Muslim, found out about the fundraiser while it was in full swing, she gave an order to stop it.
“She called one of our staffers and told him to ‘get those f***ing Jews out of the pool,’” one of the complainants quoted Adaya as saying.
Hotel staff then approached organizers saying they were trespassing on private property and asked them to leave.
In the confusion that ensued, party-goers were not let in or out of the hotel’s pool area and FIDF shirts were confiscated, according to the indictment.
Adaya initially sued plaintiffs for libel, but later withdrew her claims. Organizers of the FIDF event said the suit was blatant case of SLAPP – a strategic lawsuit against public participation – an attempt to intimidate or censor by using legal action.