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'No Honor' For Egyptian 'Woman of Courage'

ADL welcomes decision to defer awarding Women of Courage Award to Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim following anti-Semitic tweets.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/8/2013, 11:18 AM

Arab activists
Arab activists
Reuters

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed Thursday a State Department decision to defer awarding the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award to Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim after news reports revealed anti-Semitic messages on her Twitter feed.

The messages included a tweet in which Ibrahim expressed her understanding and admiration of Adolph Hitler saying,  “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.”

A tweet about last July’s suicide bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria, which killed five Israelis, was equally venomous saying, “Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news.”

She also posted a message calling Saudi royals “dirtier than the Jews.”

Ibrahim was one of 10 women scheduled to receive the award from First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry at tomorrow’s ceremony at the State Department. 

Although Ibrahim tweeted yesterday, “My account has been previously stolen and any tweet on racism and hatred is not me,” the objectionable tweets remain on her feed.

“We commend Secretary John Kerry and the Department of State for taking this matter seriously, and holding in abeyance the award to Ms. Ibrahim,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “There is no courage, and there should be no honor, in propagating anti-Semitism.  If it is ascertained that Ms. Ibrahim is responsible for these anti-Semitic messages, she is unworthy of U.S. recognition and the honor and award should be withdrawn.”

The League called on Ibrahim to issue a public disavowal of the anti-Semitic tweets, stating they do not represent her views, unequivocally condemning anti-Semitism as repugnant and unacceptable and urging others not to promote anti-Semitism, hatred or bigotry of any kind. 

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced the decision to delay the awarding ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

“We as a department became aware very late in the process about Samira Ibrahim’s alleged public comments,” Nuland sad, according to The Washington Times. “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.”

She added that Ibrahim “has categorically denied” that she posted the unsavory messages and claimed that her account had been “hacked.”

“But we need some time and, in order to be prudent, to conduct our own review,” Nuland said.