The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica was the site of an incident that gave… (Grant Hindsley / Associated…)
A pro-Israel organization canceled a protest rally at the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica after the hotel's co-owner condemned anti-Semitism and agreed to donate to Jewish and Israeli causes.
In reaching the agreement with the western region of the Zionist Organization of America, hotel executive Tehmina Adaya sought to defuse reaction to a jury's recent decision that she had discriminated against a Jewish group that held a charity event at the hotel.
"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 Friday in a statement.
Steve Goldberg, national vice chairman of the Zionist Organization of America, said he agreed to cancel Sunday's planned peaceful demonstration because he was satisfied with Adaya's actions. "To me this is humbling herself whether she means it or not," he said.
Adaya, a Muslim born in Pakistan, said she would donate $3,600 each to the Koby Mandell Foundation, which aids families of terrorism victims, and Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which helps disabled Israeli veterans. She also said the Shangri-La planned to host a private event for Jewish and pro-Israel leaders to be coordinated and led by the Zionist Organization of America.
On Aug. 15, a jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica found that Adaya and the hotel had violated the civil rights of 18 Jewish and non-Jewish plaintiffs when staff, acting on Adaya's instructions, ordered them to remove their literature and banners, get out of the hotel pool and stop handing out T-shirts. The plaintiffs were attending a pool party for young leaders of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
The jury assessed damages at more than $1.6 million. The hotel said it plans to appeal.
James Turken, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs in the suit, described Adaya's statement as "an expression of remorse — sort of .... But I believe the remorse is [that] they were caught."