A pro-Israeli organization has canceled a protest at the Shangri-La Hotel in Santa Monica, California planned for today, after the hotel owner condemned anti-Semitism and agreed to donate to Jewish and Israeli charities.
Digital Journal reported earlier this month, that a jury had found Tehmina Adaya violated the civil rights of the organizers of a pool party to raise money for the group Friends of the Israel Defence Forces. The court heard that a furious Adaya had ordered the group to take down their banners and get out of the hotel, where they had booked a fundraising event. The jury initially awarded the 18 plaintiffs, $1.2 million in statutory damages and later another $440,000 in punitive damages in the case.
The Los Angeles Times reports the Zionist Organization of America had planned to picket the hotel today but called off the protest after Adaya offered an apology and made donations to two Jewish and Israeli charities.
The LA Times says Adaya issued a statement, saying, "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, a Muslim born in Pakistan, also announced she was donating $3,600 each to the Koby Mandell Foundation, that helps families of terrorism victims, and Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which helps disabled Israeli veterans. She also invited “leaders of the Jewish and pro-Israel community” to a private event at the hotel within the next year.
Steve Goldberg from the Zionist Organization of America told the LA Times he would cancel the protest saying he is satisfied with Adaya's actions, "To me this is humbling herself whether she means it or not."
The plaintiff's lawyer, James Turken, calls Adaya's statement "an expression of remorse — sort of .... But I believe the remorse is [that] they were caught."
The New York Times reports Adaya says allegations that she had use profanity when she learned about the event were based on “false information from a disgruntled former employee.”
She says the hotel will appeal the jury's decision.