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Trial Starts in L.A. Hotel Anti-Semitism Case

A trial began this week involving a group of young Los Angeles-area Jews accusing a hotel of discrimination.

The plaintiffs, including more than a dozen young adults affiliated with the nonprofit Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, say Tehmina Adaya, the owner of the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, Calif., discriminated against them when, on July 11, 2010. They say she brought to an abrupt end a pool party that the plaintiffs say had been approved by members of the hotel’s management in advance, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles reported.

In his opening statement Thursday, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, James H. Turken said he will make the case that Adaya became “exceedingly” angry when she learned that an event at the hold was organized by a Jewish group, the paper reported.

The plaintiffs have charged Adaya and the hotel with multiple violations, including discrimination, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, according to the paper.

Defense attorney John S. Levitt, however, said that while members of FIDF’s Young Leadership group thought that they had arranged for the party, no agreement had been made with the hotel’s management.

Adaya – a Pakistani-born Muslim, who for a time lived in a predominantly Jewish sorority house at the University of California at Los Angeles, according to Levitt – allegedly yelled something to the effect of “Get these expletive Jews out of my pool,” on the day in question, the Journal reported.

The jury trial is expected to last two weeks.

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