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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Hotel Owner who Kicked Jews Out Hosting Anti-Jihadists

Geller promises she and Spencer will partake in a proudly Zionist event in the Shangri-La Hotel, "we will talk forthrightly about the roots of Islamic antisemitism in the Quran and other Islamic texts."

Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya (R) with her younger sister.

Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya (R) with her younger sister.

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In 2012 the Jewish Press reported on the successful lawsuit against the Muslim owner of a swanky Santa Monica hotel who, while exclaiming, “Get the [expletive deleted] Jews out of my pool,” had her employees do just that.  The plaintiffs had been at the hotel at a fundraiser they hosted for a pro-Israel organization, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).

The jury found the hotel and its owner, Tehmina Adaya, had committed “particularly reprehensible” acts of discrimination against the plaintiffs, and specifically, that Adaya had acted with “malice, oppression and fraud,” slapping her with punitive damages.

When word got out about what Adaya had done to the FIDF volunteers, members of  the Los Angeles office of the ZOA planned a protest in front of the hotel.  Adaya met that public relations protest by sending an underling to promise the activists she would host an event for them at her expense within a year in exchange for cancelling the protest.  They accepted the offer and called off the protest.

When the trial ended and the jury returned its verdict finding that Adaya had discriminated against Jews, she and the ZOA group issued their agreed-upon statements.  In hers, Adaya said she was opposed to anti-Semitism.  Adaya also claimed she had not done any of the things she had been accused of, or had been found liable for.  The ZOA LA statement included, “we believe that her statement exhibits the Jewish value of teshuva, repentance.”

As Miles Lozano, the Shangri-La public relations manager told the Jewish Press at the time, “the steps Adaya is taking are intended to address the Shangri-La’s public relations issues, whereas the court case dealt only with the legal issues.”

Adaya is still working with a bifurcated plan: on the legal front, she has appealed the ruling by the jury that she committed particularly reprehensible acts of discrimination against Jews, and at the same time, she is footing the bill for an event which is now a fundraiser for the new organization of the former ZOA director, Orit Arfa (Arfa was fired by the ZOA in the fall).  Strikingly, that event is headlining two of the world’s most renown and controversial anti-Jihadi activists, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs.com, and Robert Spencer, of Jihadwatch.com.

Geller garnered a great deal of attention over the past several months by running a series of ads in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. transit systems which state: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, choose civilized man.  Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” Muslim groups such as Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council and others were outraged and pushed back hard.  In September, Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American activist, was arrested for vandalizing one of Geller’s posters in New York.

When asked how she felt about being hosted by someone who had engaged in such reprehensible acts of discrimination against Jews, Geller told the Jewish Press,

“The public renunciation by Adaya of one of the most egregious and monstrous acts of anti-Semitism in modern times is something to celebrate.  She is underwriting the cost of a gala costume ball honoring two of America’s leading critics of Islamic anti-Semitism, and at a Purim event, perhaps this is Haman avenged!  ‘Cause it’s the same hate, different era.”

When one of the plaintiffs in the case against the hotel was asked about the Shangri-La Purim party, the response was not as enthusiastic.  The plaintiff told the Jewish Press that she and the other plaintiffs found the response to Adaya and the Shangri-La Hotel by some in the pro-Israel community to be “deeply disappointing.”  Why?  The plaintiff gave several reasons:

First, despite what the ZOA director wrote at the time, there was no teshuva by Adaya – she is still claiming not to have done anything wrong and everyone knows the steps for teshuva are first, acknowledgement that one acted wrongly, and second, apologizing to the one wronged.  To this day Adaya and her hotel have not apologized to the plaintiffs.  But second, given that the FIDF was the wronged party, why isn’t Adaya having a fundraiser for the FIDF?  Instead, the Purim Gala is to help promote a new organization created by the former ZOA employee who falsely claimed Adaya had done teshuva.

There are other ways to divine the sincerity of Adaya’s gesture.  Court papers filed by her new attorneys on January 7, offered several reasons to justify Adaya being given a new trial.  Much emphasis was placed on the “fact” that one of the jurors hid that she was Jewish.  According to the filed papers, Adaya is claiming that one of the jurors “failed to disclose her religious background, Jewish,” during the jury selection process.  Two problems with that: there’s no legal bar to a Jewish juror sitting on a case about anti-Semitic discrimination, and Adaya’s lawyers never asked the juror whether she was Jewish during the jury selection process.

When James Turken, manager partner at Dickstein, Shapiro’s California offices and plaintiffs’ lawyer in this case, was asked by the Jewish Press what he thought about the claims by Adaya’s lawyers, he responded with a soft chuckle and raised a third problem with the claim: “I don’t even think the juror they are claiming hid being Jewish is actually Jewish,” he said, ” but I know they never asked about that” during the jury selection process.

Turken was reluctant to comment on anything other than the legal matters of the case, but quipped about the Zionist Gala to be held at the Shangri-La, “since Adaya was found liable for insisting that “all the ‘blankin’ Jews get out of her pool, I’m going to assume this isn’t going to be a pool party.”

For her part, Geller is saying that it is the first time that she can think of in which a Muslim has publicly acknowledged that “Islamic anti-Semitism is wrong, and offered to make amends for it.”  She went on to acknowledge that Adaya might be engaging in a form of deception while not actually ruing her acts of discrimination, she said, “Taqiyya? Maybe, but how sincere they are is not the point: the point is that they’re publicly admitting that Islamic Jew-hatred exists and is wrong. We’re going to make the most of it.”

Geller promises she and Spencer will partake in a proudly Zionist event in the Shangri-La Hotel, “in which we will talk forthrightly about the roots of Islamic antisemitism in the Quran and other Islamic texts.”

An ironic sidenote is that when Geller was scheduled to speak at an event for the ZOA at the building owned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles last June, the Federation cancelled her, reportedly because of fear that local Muslim groups might protest outside the building.  At the time, Geller responded that the Jewish Federation “cravenly submitted to Islamic supremacists who wanted to suppress free speech.”

A public statement prepared by Ellen Adelman, the Shangri-La Hotel’s development officer, was issued about the upcoming Purim Gala.  It states that the hotel “is committed to enhancing understanding and cooperation between people of all backgrounds and cultures, and to embrace differences.  Our hope is that we can come together and celebrate the theme of their party – Purim – a holiday designed to bring people together.”

When Lozano, the Shangri-La’s public relations manager, was asked by the Jewish Press whether Adaya would be attending the Zionist Purim event at her hotel, Lozano – who is Jewish – said he didn’t know.  When asked whether he thought Purim is really a holiday “designed to bring people together,” he snorted, acknowledging it was a strange way to describe Purim.

Perhaps Adaya hasn’t been told that at the end of the Purim story, Haman is hanged.

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About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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18 Responses to “Hotel Owner who Kicked Jews Out Hosting Anti-Jihadists”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope that Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer change their minds about participating in this event. They are just being used for publicity by Ms. Adaya, an unrepentant anti-Semite. Moreover, Ms. Geller has been treated very badly by Los Angeles Jewish organizations as recently as last year, so what are the chances that this Purim festival in honor of her work would even be well attended? Certainly, there would be a better chance of success if Orit looked for a less repugnant venue! Most importantly, I think that Geller and Spencer should show solidarity with the Friends of the IDF, the plaintiffs in the legal case against the Shangri-La, who continue to be abused and slandered by Ms. Adaya.

  2. Steven Goldberg says:

    The author of this article is misinformed. It's too bad the sole individual plaintiff in the lawsuit against the hotel insists on being anonymous, but it's understandable in view of the false information she conveys in her quote. The Friends of the IDF was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Only the individuals who were at the party were plaintiffs. The Friends of the IDF was not the wronged party, and the Friends of the IDF will not be enriched as a result of the jury verdict. Only the individual plaintiffs will receive money. Good for them, but there is a larger issue at stake. The entire purpose of the Purim Party is to have it in the lions den, and to make a statement by honoring courageous anti-jihad activists such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Someday it would be great to host a Purim Party on the Temple Mount, ideally inside the Al Aksa Mosque, but until that day comes, the Shangri-La Hotel will be a good second choice. It's interesting that the author of the column failed to disclose that, in addition to the party, the owner of the hotel was compelled to make a public statement condemning anti-Semitism and supporting Israel, and to make donations to a charity for wounded Israeli soldiers and to a charity for Israeli victims of Arab terror, in exchange for the cancellation of the protest. It's also noteworthy that there was nothing preventing the author, or the anonymous plaintiff in the lawsuit who gave the misleading quote, from holding their own protests. It's easy to criticize from the bleachers. This Purim Party is going to be controversial. CAIR, MPAC and other Muslim organizations are likely to protest the party and try to pressure the hotel to cancel it. The idea of a Muslim hotel owner hosting a party by a Zionist organization honoring Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer will undoubtedly arouse the wrath of Islamic groups. Ms. Geller and Mr. Spencer should be commended for their courage in being willing to accept their honors and attend a Purim party in this venue. There will be controversy. It will not be for the faint of heart, like the author of this article. I'm sure she and many other Jews are afraid of such a confrontation, but they should not attempt to disguise their fear as principle.

  3. Anya Khan says:

    Could you imagine the outrage of jurors were asked if they were Christian or Muslim.

  4. Liad Bar-el says:

    Again Lori Lowenthal Marcus puts to flight Sinem Tezyapar’s Islamisation of the world with love.

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    Actually I made a poor choice of words. Lori's article doesn't put Sinem's Islamisation to flight but rather sinks it and does it rather well.

    Now if the JPress staff could give some instruction on how to use the edit function or fix it because all I get is a blank screen when I press it, I would greatly appreicate your efforts.

  6. H Fragman Abramson says:

    A murderer isn't less a murderer just because he does a good deed. I am saddened that Geller and Spencer will give the anti-Semitic hotel owner a pass because she found out it's not a lucrative position to take as a service establishment. Unless the Purim party is intended as theatre of the macabre and they're planning on hanging the hotel owner for room decor, the ZOA offshoot should be ashamed of their complicity in this charade. Since when is it a Jewish org job to make Jew haters look good?

  7. Alan Kardon says:

    Amazing what people will do because it cost them money. She was proven in a Court of Law to be an anti-semite. She has not publicly admitted her guilt. She has not apologized publicly for her actions. Sorry, to little to late.

  8. Valerie Garza says:

    i totally agree sweetie ,this is horrible,and needs true TESHUVA, AMEIN V AMEIN!!!

  9. Rose Pappas says:

    I have just read a news item that describes Obama's continuing attempts to shrink Israel and divide Jerusalem. I want to scream. Netanyahu and all of Israel should not budge. Netanyahu was very polite and skillful that first time he faced down with BHO. This time he should be a stone wall. Not one inch of Israeli territory is negotiable. Jerusalem is yours and you will fight for it. In their determination to wear you down, they will use all their tricks to make Netanyahu look like the bad guy, and put him under extreme pressure. But dear Mister Netanyahu, just stand in the fire. It won't burn you any more than it burned Shadrack and his buddies. It is the God of heaven who fights against your enemies. Do not even blink. It wouldn't hurt if you refused to meet with any of these people. All they want to do is browbeat and intimidate.

  10. Jan Bauman says:

    The owner of the hotel had often had Jewish events at the hotel. She is not an anti-semite as some of you want to think. She has Jewish employees as well. In the case of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces it was the FIDF that deceived the owner. The hotel has rules that only guests staying at the hotel should use the pool. They also have rules regarding the hanging of banners. Both rules were violated by the FIDF. But because they were Jews who violated the rules and were told to leave suddenly this becomes a case of "anti-semitism."

    If a group of gentiles had violated the rules of the hotel and had been kicked out there would have been no hue and cry that she was against gentiles. But heaven forbid that the rules would be applied to Jews. We Jews are allowed to do whatever we want and no one had better say anything lest they be accused of "anti-semitism."

    Now the owner is crawling on her belly when she should have stood up saying that she will run her hotel as she pleases and if people violate the terms of the contract they have to leave.

    For her to have the vile and racist Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer at an event is sickening.

  11. Alan Kardon says:

    I would love to see what you say in writing? I also would like to see the contract that was signed. You made a statement, show the information please.

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    Geller is an adherent to the ideology of the notorious atheist hedonist Ayn Rand; she is every bit as hostile to traditional Judaism as she is to Islam. Spencer, who is not Jewish, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Dutch bigot Geert Wilders, who wants to ban kosher slaughter in that country.

    These are not our friends! They have no business speaking at Jewish events. FIDF should steer clear.

  13. Charlie Hall says:

    Even Medinat Yisrael itself does not say that Judea and Samaria is part of its territory. And nine US Presidents have refused to recognize Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem.

  14. Grace Acosta says:

    I happen to love both of the speakers, and I'd be there if I could afford it! I can only imagine what a great party it would be.

  15. Grace Acosta says:

    When has anyone, in the history of ever, said "Throw those ***** Gentiles out of the pool"?

  16. Charlie Hall I happen to love both those people. Geert is not a bigot and has great experience with our Muslim brothers and Pamela Gellers speaks the truth, they are savages, the JIhadists!

  17. I assume you always drink his Koolaid always?

  18. Notice she is from UC Berkeley a hot bed of democracy and Jew Hatred!

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