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US cancels award to Egyptian activist over "anti-Semitic tweets"


The Obama administration has revoked the award it planned to give an Egyptian activist who fought against "virginity tests" on female protesters over "anti-American" and "anti-Semitic" comments on her Twitter account.

Samira Ibrahim was to have been honored Friday along with nine other women at the International Women of Courage Award hosted by top US diplomat John Kerry and First Lady Michelle Obama.

But it was revealed that Ibrahim had sent some "anti-American" and "anti-Semitic" remarks on her prolific Twitter account.

"Upon further review, the department has decided not to present her with the award," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told journalists.

She refused to comment further on the reasons why, saying only US officials "didn't consider some of the public statements that she had made appropriate. They didn't comport with our values."

The annual award marking International Women's Day pays tribute to "exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk," according to the State Department.

On Thursday, officials had already decided to postpone the award for Ibrahim after she alleged that her account had been hacked when reports of her tweets emerged.

The right-wing Weekly Standard claimed Ibrahim had written in August: "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."

She also allegedly wrote on September 11 "Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning," the Standard said.

"There were obviously some problems in our review process, and we're going to do some forensics on how that happened," Nuland admitted on Friday.

Ibrahim is defending herself on Twitter, saying she didn't attack any religion. But she refuses to apologize to what she calls the "Zionist lobby in America."

Ibrahim had been initially chosen "because of the incredible bravery and courage she displayed at the time of the Tahrir Square protests," Nuland had said earlier in the week.

She had been subjected to "real police violence" which she had spoken out against and "she became a real leader in her country in trying to address gender-based violence and other human rights abuses," Nuland added.

Among those being honored are the Indian student who died after being gang-raped in a bus in Delhi in December; Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan poet and blogger; Malalai Bahaduri, a first sergeant and senior instructor with the Afghan National Interdiction Unit, and a Syrian human rights lawyer, Razan Zeitunah.


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