Julia Salazar is a candidate for the state senate of New York. Salazar is no stranger to controversy: she has been attacked in the press for allegedly lying about her social class, her immigration status, and even her religion. Recently, court documents revealed that Salazar was involved in a prolonged legal battle with the ex-wife of baseball great Keith Hernandez, who once lived in the same neighborhood as Salazar’s mother.
Today, Salazar took to Twitter to announce that she was once sexually assaulted by David Keyes, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Salazar says that she went public about the assault today because she became aware that the story was about to come out in the media. Late Tuesday afternoon, the Daily Caller published a piece about the alleged assault. You can read the Daily Caller story here. And you can read Salazar’s statement here.
Here’s what you need to know about Julia Salazar and David Keyes:
1. Salazar’s Campaign Told Heavy That She Never Wanted the Assault to Be Publicized
A spokesman for Julia Salazar’s campaign told Heavy that she would never have spoken out about the assault if it hadn’t been for the Daily Caller piece. The spokesman, Michael Kinnucan, said, “Julia posted on her private Facebook wall about the assault in 2016, then deleted it almost immediately when she discovered someone had screenshotted it; she did not intend to go public but was outed by a Daily Caller press inquiry this morning.”
Salazar first tweeted about the incident, and the upcoming media report, at 8:45 on Tuesday morning. The Daily Caller report came out late Tuesday afternoon. You can read it here.
On the night of the alleged assault, the Daily Caller reports, Salazar went with Keyes to his apartment after a meeting where they’d discussed a story she’d written on Israel. There, he allegedly forced himself upon her.
“I resisted, tried to laugh it off, tried to be polite,” she wrote in a since-deleted post on her Facebook page, “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.”
2. In 2016, an Anonymous Woman Posted on Facebook About Being Assaulted by David Keyes
Julia Salazar didn’t give any specifics about the alleged sexual assault in her tweet this morning. But she seemed to imply that she is not the only woman who’s been assaulted by David Keyes. In a lengthy tweet on the morning of September 11, Salazar wrote, “I want to come forward and confirm that I was a victim of sexual assault by David Keyes — the Prime Minister of Israel’s spokesman to foreign media. This story [a reference to the article which Salazar says is about to appear about her case] appears to be an effort to cast doubt upon my, and other women’s, accusations against Keyes.”
In 2016, Salazar wrote — and then quickly deleted — a post on her Facebook wall in which she said that Keyes had assaulted her in Manhattan in 2013. Her post made headlines in Israel, since it appeared just as Keyes was appointed to be spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Salazar did travel to Israel when she was a student at Columbia University. When she was a freshman, the 19 year old Salazar was the president of Columbia’s chapter of a group called Christians United for Israel. She joined the group in a trip to the Holy Land. That would be eight years ago now. After returning from Israel, Salazar, previously a strong supporter of Israel, became publicly sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians.
3. Salazar Said She Was Going Public About the Assault to Get Ahead of an Upcoming Media Report In the Daily Caller
Salazar said she was going public about the assault because she wanted to get out ahead of an upcoming report in the Daily Caller about that attack. The Daily Caller story finally went live late on Tuesday afternoon, hours after Salazar tweeted about the issue. You can read the Daily Caller piece here.
Voters in New York will go to the polls on Thursday, September 13 to choose the candidates for state senate (among other races being voted on that day). There aren’t any polls out in the race, so it’s impossible to know how well Salazar is doing against her opponent, 16-year incumbent Democrat Martin Dilan. But Salazar has been taking a lot of hits in the press, and recently she lost the endorsement of the Citizens Union after it was revealed that she lied about having graduated from Columbia University. Salazar did attend Columbia, but dropped out before graduation.
Martin Dilan has described her as a politician who’s willing to say whatever it takes to get elected, but said he doesn’t think voters will be fooled. “Someone who was a Republican last year, a Conservative, pro-life, anti-abortion — now wants to be more progressive than I am? I don’t think so,” Dilan said.
4. The Facebook Post Accusing Keyes of Sexual Assault Was Deleted Shortly After Being Published, Back in 2016
David Keyes, an American-born Israeli, was appointed to be Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman in 2016. Just after he was appointed, a woman wrote in an anonymous Facebook post that Keyes had sexually assaulted her in his apartment in Manhattan in 2013. The woman also said that, after she began to talk about the incident, two other women had told her that they were also assaulted by Keyes. She deleted her post, but it’s been saved, in part, in a screenshot.
The NYPD said at the time that it had no record of a complaint ever being filed against David Keyes.
The Times of Israel says that the woman was a supporter of the Boycott and Divestment, or BDS movement, which seeks to hurt Israel’s economy by boycotting Israel businesses. She was also reportedly arrested at a protest in New York City against Israel’s war with Hamas in 2014. Salazar is also a supporter of the BDS movement.
5. Keyes Said Salazar’s Accusation is Just One More Example of Her ‘Dishonesty’
David Keyes told the Times of Israel on Tuesday that there was absolutely no truth to Salazar’s accusations against him. “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 said.
Back in 2016, when the Facebook post came out accusing him of assaulting a woman in Manhattan, Keyes said that he had, in fact, met that woman. But he described their encounter as completely consensual. “I completely deny the charge, there was absolutely no coercion in our encounter,” an official told Israel’s Army Radio at the time.
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