State Dept. defers award for author of anti-Semitic, anti-American tweets

Samira Ibrahim depicted on graffiti. Credit: Gigi Ibrahim.

( The U.S. State Department has delayed an award it had planned for Egyptian women’s rights activist Samira Ibrahim, the author of anti-Semitic and anti-American tweets.

Ibrahim, who was set to be honored by Secretary of State John Kerry and First Lady Michelle Obama on March 8 as one of 10 recipients of the International Women of Courage Award, tweeted the following after last summer’s bus bombing that killed five Israelis in Bulgaria: “An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news.”

The Weekly Standard reported that later in the summer of 2012, Ibrahim tweeted, “I have discovered with the passage of days, that no act contrary to morality, no crime against society, takes place, except with the Jews having a hand in it. Hitler.” Additionally, on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, she tweeted, “May every year come with America burning.”

After at first claiming her Twitter account was hacked, Ibrahim—upon leaving the U.S. on Thursday—admitted that she sent the “hostile” tweets.

“I refused to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America for previous comments hostile towards Zionism under pressure from the American government so the prize was withdrawn,” she tweeted.

In a press briefing March 7, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the department “became aware very late in the process about Samira Ibrahim’s alleged public comments.”

“After careful consideration, we’ve decided that we should defer presenting this award to Ms. Ibrahim this year so that we have a chance to look further into these statements,” Nuland said. “I would say that in conversations with us in the last 24 hours, Ms. Ibrahim has categorically denied authorship. She asserts that she was hacked. But we need some time and—in order to be prudent to conduct our own review.”

According to a State Department press release, Ibrahim had earned the honor because she was “among seven women subjected by the Egyptian military to forced virginity tests in March 2011.” But Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president and of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, believes Ibrahim’s entire personal record—not just her women’s activism—should be considered when evaluating her.

“We cannot cherry pick specific endearing characteristics of individuals we support,” Jasser wrote in a statement to “Some Islamist public figures as well as some secular leftist socialists may have redeeming features, but those cannot be viewed in a vacuum. We ignore their Islamism and its attendant threat against the West at our own eventual peril.”

“Samira Ibrahim’s recently revealed tweets are indicative of the anti-Semitism that is rampant throughout the Middle East, as I testified to before Congress on February 27,” he wrote.

Posted on March 7, 2013 .