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Kerry’s “Courage” Award Debacle

Yesterday, Samuel Tadros reported in the Weekly Standard that John Kerry was handling his transition to running the State Department about as adroitly as one would imagine. He had an idea, and Foggy Bottom sent out a press release excitedly announcing that First Lady Michelle Obama was going to enthusiastically partake in this idea. The State Department would confer Women of Courage awards on several worthy recipients. Unfortunately, one of them happened to have a bad habit, apparently, of proclaiming viciously anti-Semitic hate speech on Twitter and was pretty happy, according to her timeline, about the September 11 terror attacks. Tadros wrote:

On July 18 of last year, after five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed a suicide bombing attack, Ibrahim jubilantly tweeted: “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.”

Ibrahim frequently uses Twitter to air her anti-Semitic views. Last August 4, commenting on demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, she described the ruling Al Saud family as “dirtier than the Jews.” Seventeen days later she tweeted in reference to Adolf Hitler: “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.”

Ibrahim holds other repellent views as well. As a mob was attacking the United States embassy in Cairo on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, pulling down the American flag and raising the flag of Al Qaeda, Ibrahim wrote on twitter: “Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning.” Possibly fearing the consequences of her tweet, she deleted it a couple of hours later, but not before a screen shot was saved by an Egyptian activist.

Tadros’s report stirred up appropriately negative reaction and Ibrahim tried to save her award by claiming her account was hacked. But the offending tweets were sent at very different times, left undeleted, never acknowledged before as fake, and didn’t appear terribly out of character for Ibrahim. The State Department announced it believed Ibrahim’s story about the tweets being fake. Since this was incredibly insulting to the intelligence of everyone the State Department thought would buy that excuse, people went about working to debunk that claim too.

At the Times of Israel, Arieh Kovler looked into the coding of the tweets and showed that the offending tweets were sent from the same platform as Ibrahim’s other tweets. Additionally, the tweets were sent from a phone application, and Kovler explained why it’s extremely unlikely a hacker would use a phone instead of a computer. It’s not definitive proof Ibrahim lied about being hacked, Kovler admitted. But the preponderance of evidence is difficult to ignore.

Tadros’s story now seems to have helped the State Department avoid a much more embarrassing spectacle were this all to come out after Ibrahim was scheduled to receive the award from the first lady and secretary of state tomorrow: McClatchy journalist Hannah Allam reported they will “defer” the award. Presumably the others will still receive their Women of Courage awards, but this incident will likely dim their excitement. After all, the fact that the State Department is conferring this honor on them doesn’t seem to mean the State Department actually knows anything about them.


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