Jury Deliberates in Case of Shangri-La Owner and Jewish Fundraisers
by Zachary Lichaa
A jury in Santa Monica, CA is in the final stages of its deliberations over a case involving the owner of the Shangri-La Hotel and members of a Friends of Israel Defense Forces group who had their planned fundraiser shut down due to their Jewish heritage.
On July 11th, 2010, a fundraiser was held at the Shangri-La Hotel by the FIDF’s Young Leadership Division, to help bring the children or siblings of fallen Israeli soldiers to the United States, however when Tehmina Adaya – the property’s owner – witnessed the event taking place in the hotel’s pool area, she ordered it to be shut down.
“Get the f–king Jews out of my pool”, Adaya, who is an American-Muslim of Pakistani descent, said at the pool that day, according to sworn testimony given during the trial.
The hotel’s staff helped organize the event and scheduled extra personnel to assist with the day’s activities, which was occurring during the same time as the 2010 World Cup. Adaya, who was hosting a party at her cabana for the soccer tournament the same day as the fundraiser, went against the advice of her staff and shut down the FIDF festivities.
“Many people saw her irate and then step by step, dismantle the event. People who went to the bathroom weren’t allowed back in to get their things, including their credit cards from the bar area, and were asked to take off t-shirts that had been given to them upon entering the event,” one of the event’s attendees told The Algemeiner. “In testimony, it came out that staff told her she couldn’t do this, that it was the equivalent of telling black people to get out.”
When contacted by The Algemeiner, the Shangri-La declined to comment on the lawsuit itself.
“We try to provide the utmost service to anyone who enters our hotel,” a spokesperson for the hotel said.
One of the plaintiffs involved in the case, who requested anonymity due to the ongoing nature of the lawsuit, says that this story is an issue of civil rights.
“She doesn’t have the right to take away our civil rights,” the source said. “Many of us were not willing to let her win and the only recourse is through the legal system. She can’t act with anti-Semitism and if you don’t stand up and say something is wrong, who will?”
The annual fundraiser held by the Young Leadership Division of the FIDF was held at another prominent Los Angeles hotel the following year, and will be returning this year to the same location.
“I’ll never step foot in the Shangri-La again,” the plaintiff said.