November 18, 2018

Netanyahu Spokesman to Take Time Off In Response to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Screenshot from Twitter.

David Keyes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign media spokesperson, is taking some time off in response to allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times of Israel reports.

As the Journal has reported, New York state senate Democratic candidate Julia Salazar accused Keyes of sexually assaulting her in 2013, an allegation Keyes denied. But the Times of Israel found 11 other women who accused Keyes of inappropriate conduct:

Besides Salazar, one other woman who spoke to The Times of Israel accused Keyes of “physically aggressive” behavior that could be considered sexual assault. According to this woman’s account, he kissed her against her will and tried to undress her, and she had to use force to extricate herself from his embrace.

The other women described encounters they found either aggressive, offensive, overly flirtatious or otherwise inappropriate.

Additionally, Wall Street Journal reporter Shayndi Raice tweeted that Keyes is a “predator”:

Keyes has denied the allegations, but announced in a statement on Thursday that he was taking some time away from his position.

“In light of the false and misleading accusations against me and in order not to distract from the important work of the prime minister, I have asked to take time off to clear my name,” Keyes said. “I am fully confident that the truth will come out.”

N.Y. State Senate Candidate Accuses Netanyahu Spokesman of Sexual Assault

Screenshot from Twitter.

Julia Salazar, the democratic socialist New York state senate candidate who has faced questions over her claims of Jewish ancestry, is claiming that David Keyes, the foreign media spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sexually assaulted her.

In a statement, Salazar said that the media was about to out her for her sexual assault claim:

Keyes has denied the allegations.

“This false accusation is made by someone who has proven to be repeatedly dishonest about her own life,” Keyes said in a statement. “This is yet another example of her dishonesty.”

The Daily Caller has reported that Salazar fits the description of a woman accusing Keyes of sexual assault in 2016 and that she deleted Facebook posts accusing Keyes of sexually assaulting her. The Daily Caller report also notes that “two journalists from The Intercept and one who currently works at The Atlantic” looked into Salazar’s allegations, but ended the investigation because “Salazar would not cooperate.”

As the Journal has reported, Salazar has claimed that her father is Jewish, a claim that was contradicted by her brother. Salazar then said that she took a conversion class, but never had a b’nai mitzvah. She is now claiming that she underwent the full conversion process.

Additionally, Salazar has said that she is an immigrant from Colombia, which she later backtracked on when members of her family said otherwise. Salazar’s family members have also contradicted her statements that she grew-up in a working class household.

Citizens Union, a good-government organization, rescinded their endorsement on Tuesday when they discovered that Salazar gave them inaccurate information on her academic resume. Salazar recently admitted to The New York Times that she did not graduate from Columbia University despite information from her campaign suggesting otherwise.

Netanyahu’s office denies Abbas offered direct talks

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied a claim that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered to begin secret, direct talks with Netanyahu three times but was rejected.

In a statement to JTA Tuesday, Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes flatly denied the assertion made a day earlier by Gershon Baskin, who has acted as an unofficial conduit between the Netanyahu government and Palestinian leadership.

“There is no truth whatsoever to the claim that President Abbas offered to begin secret direct talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Keyes said. “Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to call on President Abbas to meet anytime, anywhere, without pre-conditions. Unfortunately, President Abbas has refused.”

Baskin told JTA that he personally delivered the requests from Abbas over the past three years.

“Netanyahu is paying lip service to the public and the world because Abbas has offered Netanyahu on three opportunities a request to enter into secret, direct negotiations,” Baskin told JTA.

On Tuesday, Baskin told JTA, “There are at least three times I know of because I sent the messages for Abbas.”