A Democratic Socialist candidate for New York Senate faces questions after reports emerged that she falsified her biography, including claims about being Jewish, Fox News reported.
Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old progressive Democrat running in north Brooklyn’s 18th district against incumbent Martin Dilan. She is affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America and has been touted as the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young and hip socialist who would move the party further to the left. She also received endorsements from the left-wing New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian terrorist-sympathizer.
But Salazar came under fire last week after an expose in Tablet magazine, which examined Salazar’s claims about her biography.
The candidate previously told multiple outlets that she’s an immigrant from Colombia and noted that her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was young. Her father, she said, was Jewish but the family had little contact with the American Jewish community after they arrived to the country.
“I immigrated to this country with my family when I was very little. In Colombia, my mom raised me as a single mother,” she also said during one of her events on the campaign trail.
According to Tablet, the candidate is not an immigrant. She was born in Miami and her mother had U.S. citizenship.
Her claims about being Jewish also came under scrutiny. She claimed Jewish blood through her father, saying his Jewish ancestors were expelled to Latin America from medieval Spain. But her father’s 2009 funeral service notes that the service was held in a Catholic Church in Florida, Tablet reported.
“There was nobody in our immediate family who was Jewish … my father was not Jewish, we were not raised Jewish,” her brother, Alex Salazar told the magazine. He added that one of their father’s brothers was a Jesuit priest.
Haaretz spoke with a former fellow student at Columbia University who said Salazar “lied about her immigrant identity and she’s lying about being Jewish.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the former student said Salazar first spoke with him in 2010, expressing a desire to be involved with the pro-Israel activist group Christians United For Israel, and “stated unequivocally that she wasn’t Jewish.”
He also says she admitted to him she knew she could not join a Birthright trip to Israel because she was not Jewish.
He said he believed Salazar “has taken on this identity of a left-wing social democratic Jew in order to score political points.”
The former student said Salazar even used to joke about working for a Jewish family and being their “Shabbas goy,” he recalled.
Tablet also obtained messages from her university years that show Salazar claiming her mother’s family was from Israel and describing herself as a descendant of Christian Israelis.
Salazar has since changed her positions of Israel and has supported organizations that campaign for boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions against Israel.
Tablet reports that some of her acquaintances said that Salazar had undergone conversion to conservative Judaism in just two months, though such a process could take much longer.
Salazar called the questioning of her religion “a long history of bigoted policing of the identity of Jewish people of color, particularly people with patrilineal Jewish heritage or Jews who converted. I’m sad to see that brought into my campaign.”
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