Muslim hotel owner found guilty of discrimination condemns anti-Semitism

(JTA) — A Muslim hotel owner in Southern California condemned anti-Semitism and agreed to donate money to two pro-Israel groups in order to head off a protest rally.

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Tehmina Adava, the owner of the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, said last Friday that she would donate $3,600 each to the Koby Mandell Foundation, which helps families of terrorism victims, and the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which helps disabled Israeli veterans.

Earlier this month, a jury in Santa Monica Superior Court  found that Adaya had discriminated against the nonprofit Friends of the Israel Defense Forces when it held a fundraising event at the hotel.

The donations were part of an agreement with the Western region of the Zionist Organization of America, which had planned a demonstration in front of the hotel to mark the court’s decision. Adava also said the Shangri-La would host a private event for Jewish and pro-Israel leaders to be coordinated and led by the ZOA, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I care deeply about the hurt, anger and misunderstanding that has resulted, and I want the Jewish and pro-Israel community to know I condemn anti-Semitism,” Adaya said in a statement following the announcement of her donations.

The jury awarded the Friends of the IDF more than $1.2 million in damages.

On July 11, Adaya abruptly ended a pool party that had been approved by members of the hotel’s management in advance, ordering that all informational brochures and the group’s banner be removed from the premises. She allegedly yelled, “Get these [expletive] Jews out of my pool,” according to testimony.

Adaya and her hotel were found to have violated the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which bars hotels and businesses from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color or religion.

It was alleged during the trial that Adaya, a Pakistani-born Muslim, ordered the group to stop its event because she believed that her family would cut off her financing for allowing Jews to use the facility. Adaya inherited the hotel from her father, Ahmad Adaya, a real estate mogul and philanthropist who died in 2006.

 

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