Julia Salazar, a controversial New York State Senate hopeful, on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman for international media, David Keyes, of having sexually assaulted her. Keyes totally denied the claim.
“I’ve been informed that a story is about to run which identifies me as a victim of sexual assault,” Salazar wrote on her Twitter account. “Before this runs, I want to come forward and confirm that I was a victim of sexual assault by David Keyes — the Prime Minister of Israel’s spokesperson to foreign media,” her statement read.
A campaign manager for Salazar, who recently made headlines after reports accused her of lying about her Jewish identity and her place of birth, told The Times of Israel that the Daily Caller website informed him that it was about to publish a story naming her as the woman who had previously, but anonymously, accused Keyes of sexual assault in 2013.
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“I’ve spoken to other journalists who were investigating accusations against David Keyes on background about this experience, but have never spoken on the record about it until now. There’s a reason women don’t often come forward after a traumatic experience — because of the triggering and vicious responses that follow,” she wrote.
“This false accusation is made by someone who has proven to be repeatedly dishonest about her own life. This is yet another example of her dishonesty,” he told The Times of Israel.
“The man had absolutely no conception of the word ‘no.’ No matter how often I said no, he would not stop pushing himself on me,” Raice wrote. “I was able to extricate myself quickly and it was a very brief and uncomfortable moment but I knew as I walked away I had encountered a predator.”
When reached for comment by Times of Israel, Raice said she had nothing to add beyond her tweets.
Her candidacy has been clouded by controversy after reports surfaced that noted contradicting claims she has made about her Jewishness and her place of birth. In the past Salazar spoke of her Jewish upbringing, but a lengthy expose in Tablet magazine last month quoted her brother as saying that there “was nobody in our immediate family who was Jewish.”
Journalists also revealed that Salazar was arrested in 2011 on charges of fraudulently trying to access the bank account of the estranged wife of a famous neighbor, baseball great Keith Hernandez. The charges were never prosecuted and Salazar later sued Hernandez’s wife claiming she tried to frame her in the case. Kai Hernandez settled the lawsuit for $20,000.
At the time she described the November 2013 encounter with Keyes, who was then the head of a human rights organization. She said he invited her to his Manhattan apartment to discuss an article she had penned about Israel. After meeting for coffee, they went back to his apartment, where he tried to force himself on her, according to her account.
“I resisted, tried to laugh it off, tried to be polite. But he persisted. Repeatedly. In fact, I told him ‘No, I’d rather not,’ at least a dozen times. Frankly, I was really uninterested in having any physical contact with this guy,” she wrote.
“Eventually, after I insisted on leaving his apartment repeatedly, he physically coerced me. After I submitted to him, he finally allowed me to leave. I remember going into the elevator and sobbing, and getting off before the ground floor so that I could wipe my face with a tissue, so the doorman wouldn’t embarrassingly see me leaving his building in tears so late at night.”
On Tuesday, the good government group Citizens Union withdrew its backing of Salazar for the State Senate, for misrepresenting her academic credentials. Her campaign materials indicated she graduated from Columbia University, but she later said she had completed her coursework there but not graduated.
AP contributed to this report.