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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘FIDF’

Hotel Owner who Kicked Jews Out Hosting Anti-Jihadists

Friday, January 25th, 2013

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.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Jury Throws Book at Muslim Hotel Owner for Throwing Jewish Guests Out of her Pool

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

After five days of deliberation, a Santa Monica jury announced on Wednesday that Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya committed anti-Semitic discrimination when she uttered her now-famous cry, “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my pool!

The jury found for the plaintiffs on multiple acts of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malice, fraud and oppression, and violations of the California Civil Rights Act.

The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California.

The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California.

The 18 individual plaintiffs and one corporate plaintiff were awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages, but the final amount Adaya and her company will owe is expected to go much higher, because the individual plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages on many of the counts.  In addition, attorney James Turken is entitled to collect attorney’s fees from the defendant under the Unruh Act – California’s Civil Rights Act, which specifically outlaws discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Turken was quite emotional after the verdicts were read Wednesday evening.  He had just been through two of the most draining experiences of his life.  For one thing, Turken is a corporate defense litigator, and so to him this civil rights case, especially representing plaintiffs, was largely unfamiliar territory.  He took on the case, he told the Jewish Press, because when he learned the facts he became “outraged,” and because he was also “incredibly impressed” with the plaintiffs.

On Friday, when the case went to the jury for consideration, Turken went to the home of his younger brother.  He then sat by his side as Dr. David Turken was succumbing to defeat in his years-long battle with Leukemia.  Jim Turken said that his brother had been following the lawsuit closely, despite his dwindling strength.  Even at the very end, when David was drifting in and out of consciousness, he kept asking his brother whether the jury had come back yet.

Turken could not say enough good things about his clients, the plaintiffs.  He praised them on multiple occasions as “the very best we have to offer, these are young people trying to make a difference, who volunteer for all kinds of charities.”  He told The Jewish Press that “as a Jew, I took this case very personally, but the plaintiffs made it a pleasure – I was honored to represent them.”

Ari Ryan, the lead plaintiff in the case, explained why he felt it was so important to persevere through the long, tortuous legal proceeding. Ryan was one of the organizers of the Friends of the IDF event at the Shangri-La Hotel, and as the events unfolded, as the Jews with wristbands were being herded out of the pool, “the gravity of the situation weighed heavily on me.”  He said, “evil succeeds if good men and women don’t stand up and do what is right.”

Well, the Shangri-la plaintiffs did what was right, and in the end, their conviction and hard work were validated.

Tamie Adaya was not in the court room when the verdicts were read, but she is required to be present during the punitive damages phase which starts on Thursday.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Israel’s Children Of Valor

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Every Friday night at the Shabbat table, Jewish men display their hakarat hatov for their particular “woman of valor”, by singing an ode to her that describes in great detail her many meritorious attributes and activities.

In the State of Israel, the deeds, achievements and mesirat nefesh of a particular segment of the population are also recognized, praised and appreciated – not just on erev Shabbat, but 24/7. But unlike the women of valor, these individuals are not adults. Rather they are the nation’s collective children of valor – teenagers who have bravely embraced their destiny of defending their ancestral home. They are the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

These altruistic youngsters put their personal lives on hold as they report to their bases, ready to do what is asked of them, even though both they and their parents -the biological ones and their ideological ones, for each soldier is EVERYONE”s son and daughter – know all to well that their young lives, and all their dreams, plans and hopes for the future, may be violently aborted, ripped by an enemy’s bullet, bomb or grenade.

It is the ultimate nightmare for a parent – that the natural order of life be cruelly reversed, turned around and inverted, and that they will bury and mourn their offspring and their unlived lives; rather than have that child say kaddish for them.

At a gathering earlier this month in New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel, hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), attendees were enveloped by a mother’s grief as she described the loss of her beloved son at the age of 21- a young, vibrant man; his parents’ “kaddishel”; his younger sisters’ protective brother. This boy could have led a carefree, safe life in the Europe of his cousins, but he knew it was not enough to “talk the talk”; as an Israeli he also had to “walk the walk.” He put his life on the line for his fellow citizens so they could safely live theirs.

Mir and Yossi Hadassi, lost their beloved son Yonatan z”l in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War. He served in the Maglan, a special forces unit renowned for its covert missions in enemy territory. Its mission that day was to take out enemy rocket launchers that were injuring and killing Israelis.

In his attempt to save Israeli lives, Yonatan and paramedic Yotam Gilboa, 21, lost theirs.

While addressing the audience, Mir, at times stoic, at times tearful, shared that her family was Dutch and that when she was 16, her parents and siblings converted and made aliyah. Eventually, her parents and some siblings moved back to Holland. She and a couple of others did not. For her and Israel it was love at first sight – a love that was absorbed by her sabra soldier child.

He may have been old enough to be in combat, but he was, like all soldiers, a child. Mir recounted how she spoke with him on the phone right before he left on his mission. She wanted to know if he had eaten a good breakfast, and if he had slept enough. When he was silent in answer to her declaration that she loved him, she laughingly rebuked him, asking if he was embarrassed to say he loved her in front of his friends. His, “I love you too, Ema” were the last words he was ever to utter to her.

Tragically, this bereft mother belongs to a “club” that has too many members – a club that no parent willingly joins.

Every Israeli soldier, most of who are in their late teens or early twenties are – in the eyes of their parents and grandparents – babies in uniform. As such, many need help adjusting to the physical and mental trauma of being in combat; of being away from their parents and siblings and all the comforts of home; of having to deal with the loss of their friends and their own injuries and wounds, both physical and psychological.

Friends of the IDF was established over 30 years ago by a group of Holocaust survivors who realized that young Israeli soldiers needed all kinds of support. Subsequently, over the last three decades, they have created educational, recreational, medical, social and cultural programs to enhance and improve the physical and emotional well being of the young men and women of the IDF.

One such program provides full four-year scholarships to former combat soldiers whose dream of a higher education is out of reach because they do not have the financial means to obtain one. (In lieu of this help, each scholarship recipient must complete 130 hours of community service each year.)

Monies raised by the FIDF are used to build, renovate and run recreation and sports centers, shuls, and “soldier homes” where soldiers can recharge their batteries and relax, exercise, read, etc. The FIDF also provides funding for medical and rehabilitation services to help injured soldiers. These include physiotherapy centers, dental clinics and psychiatric facilities.

Cheryl Kupfer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/israels-children-of-valor/2012/03/29/

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