Socialist New York state Senate candidate Julia Salazar on Tuesday accused a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, David Keyes, of sexual assault.
Salazar previously made those accusations in a since-deleted Facebook post that led to news reports that named Keyes as an alleged abuser but concealed Salazar’s identity.
A spokesman for her campaign also told The Daily Caller News Foundation that other women had been assaulted by Keyes as well.
A source who characterized himself as a former friend of Salazar informed The Daily Caller News Foundation that Salazar accused Keyes in the social media post. Details about the accuser outlined in an article in The Times of Israel matched up with Salazar as well.
TheDCNF reached out to Salazar’s campaign to ask about the Keyes accusation, at which point her spokesman confirmed that Salazar accused Keyes of sexual assault. The spokesman never asked TheDCNF to withhold Salazar’s identity.
“Julia was a survivor of sexual assault by David Keyes, and she is aware of other women who have also been victimized by him,” the spokesman said. “There’s a reason women don’t often come forward after a traumatic experience-—because of the harmful responses and retaliation that can follow.”
Following that response, Salazar posted a statement to Twitter accusing a news outlet (which she did not name) of trying to “out” her as a sexual assault survivor in order to “cast doubt upon my, and other women’s accusations against Keyes.”
“I’ve been informed that a story is about to run which identifies me as a victim of sexual assault,” Salazar wrote.
“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. This story appears to be an effort to cast doubt upon my, and other women’s accusations against Keyes.”
The former friend of Salazar told TheDCNF that he had personally seen the Facebook posts accusing Keyes of assault before she later deleted them.
TheDCNF could not find any police or court documents showing that Salazar contacted the authorities following the alleged attack.
In April 2016, The Times of Israel first reported that Keyes was accused of assault by an unnamed woman.
The alleged incident, according to The Times of Israel, occurred November 2013 in Keyes’ Manhattan apartment.
“This man, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new spokesperson, is an American who sexually assaults women – and I’m here to tell you this from firsthand experience,” Salazar wrote on Facebook. “I still remember vividly the night that this happened, and have a record that corroborates it.”
“I completely deny the charge, there was absolutely no coercion in our encounter,” a spokesman for Keyes told The Times of Israel in 2016.
TheDCNF email requesting comment, in full, read:
“I have sources telling me Julia was behind the sexual misconduct accusations lobbied against David Keyes in 2016. She later deleted the social media posts with the accusations.
“A description of the accuser in a Times of Israel piece also perfectly matches Julia.
“Why did she delete these accusations? Does she still stand by them? My deadline is in one hour.”
Netanyahu’s office did not return TheDCNF’s request for comment on the allegations against Keyes.
The night of the alleged incident, The Times of Israel reports, Salazar went with Keyes to his apartment after a coffee meeting where they’d discussed a story she’d written on Israel. There, he allegedly forcefully pursued her.
“I resisted, tried to laugh it off, tried to be polite,” she wrote, “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,
“Eventually, after I insisted on leaving his apartment repeatedly, he physically coerced me,” she continued. “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.”
According to the former friend of Salazar, two journalists from The Intercept and one who currently works at The Atlantic approached both Keyes and Salazar to investigate the accusation.
The reporters eventually dropped the story after Salazar would not cooperate with the investigation.
A request for comment from The Atlantic and The Intercept was not returned.
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