J Street Staffer Is Second Woman To Accuse Shavit of Sexual Misconduct

Forward: It should have been a simple errand. The 26-year-old female J Street staff member was tasked with picking up Israeli author Ari Shavit at the Baltimore train station and driving him to speak at a J Street event at Johns Hopkins University to promote his bestselling book “My Promised Land.”

But the encounter that April 2014 morning turned out differently than the staff member expected. After she picked him up, she said Shavit suggested coffee before the event. The two sat down at a cafe in the campus bookstore, a Barnes & Noble. Shavit began asking the staffer — who asked the her name be withheld to protect her privacy — questions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wanting to know her personal connection to the issue, she said.

Midway through the conversation, she said, Shavit reached his hand across the table, as if to shake her hand. The young woman found it “weird,” but shook his hand back. Then, she said, Shavit’s hand seemed to grow limp. He began rubbing her hand with his in a style she called “hand groping.”

“I was very uncomfortable,” she said. She took her hand away.

Shavit told the staffer that he would love to see her again when she visits Israel, she recalled. She leads tours to Israel, she responded, and she was sure that a group would enjoy meeting with him.

“I was thinking about the relationship with him from a professional standpoint,” she said.

But Shavit apparently wasn’t. “He said, ‘No, alone.’”

The staffer said that she was very busy on such trips, but could perhaps make time for coffee. She recalled Shavit didn’t like that idea. “No, I want to get drinks,” she said he told her.

“There was no misinterpreting” what he wanted at that point, the staffer said.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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