How NOT To Respond To Allegations Of Antisemitism

Samira IbrahimThe State Department announced earlier this week that Samira Ibrahim – an Egyptian woman who rallied worldwide attention against forced “virginity tests” on female protesters – would be among 10 recipients of the International Women of Courage award presented by Secretary of State John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama today.

The State Department has now backtracked amidst allegations Ibrahim has been a very naughty boy girl.

After five Israelis were killed in a bus explosion in July, she welcomed the “good news.” In other posts, she declared Saudi Arabia’s royal family “dirtier than Jews” and attributed all crimes against society to Jews and referenced Adolf Hitler. She also voiced support for the attacks against US embassies and consulates on the Sept. 11 anniversary.

For her part, Ibrahim claimed the offensive tweets were posted as a result of her Twitter account being hacked.

Ibrahim herself has spoken, writing in Arabic on her Twitter page. Egyptian democracy activist Mina Rezkalla provides the translation: “I refuse to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America regarding my previous anti-Zionist statements under pressure from American government therefore they withdrew the award.”

However, the State Department has decided to postpone the award, pending an investigation of her tweets.

The Obama administration is postponing an award for an Egyptian activist who rallied worldwide attention against forced “virginity tests” on female protesters because of anti-American and anti-Semitic comments discovered on her Twitter account.

The State Department announced earlier this week that Samira Ibrahim would be among 10 recipients of the International Women of Courage award presented by Secretary of State John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama on Friday.

But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday the U.S. would hold off on awarding Ibrahim while officials investigate the tweets, which include support for attacks against U.S. diplomatic installations and praise for a terrorist assault against Israeli citizens in Bulgaria.

Ibrahim, who has already arrived in the U.S, says her account was hacked, though the comments stretch back several months.

“We, as a department, became aware very late in the process about Samira Ibrahim’s alleged public comments,” Nuland told reporters. “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.

To which Ibrahim has responded.

Ibrahim herself has spoken, writing in Arabic on her Twitter page. Egyptian democracy activist Mina Rezkalla provides the translation: “I refuse to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America regarding my previous anti-Zionist statements under pressure from American government therefore they withdrew the award.”

Yep, no antisemitism there.

I’d suggest she’s cooked her goose with that tweet, but in case the State Department disagrees, I refer them to this post by a blogger at Times of Israel, who challenges Ibrahim’s “I was hacked” excuse.

Examining thousands of someone’s old tweets is a good start because there can sometimes be giveaway signs that the tweets in question were made by someone else – inconsistencies in the data that stand out or seem odd. Alternatively, if there are no inconsistencies, then it’s at least circumstantial evidence that the tweets are probably genuine.

The easiest giveaway is the method used to tweet. This used to be shown after every Tweet. It would say something like “via Twitter for iPhone” or “via Seezmic” (a Twitter app) or “via web” for those people tweeting to the Twitter website itself. This information isn’t shown on the Twitter website any longer, nor on their native apps, but it’s still there, embedded in the metadata sent with each Tweet. You just need to access it and check.

There are three offending tweets still on the Twitter site:

A tweet celebrating the September 11 attacks was deleted shortly after it was sent.

Let’s look at the source of those tweets by pulling the data off the Twitter API:

Samira-busbomb

This tweet on the Burgas bombing was sent from an Android phone using the Twitter for Android native app.

Samira-busbomb

This Tweet on the relative dirtiness of Saudis and Jews was also sent from an Android phone using the Twitter for Android native app.

Samira-hitler

This tweet positively quoting Hitler about how evil the Jews are is, yup, also posted from the Twitter for Android app.

Now, it’s pretty unusual to use a hacked account on a phone. If someone had gone to the trouble of compromising Samira Ibrahim’s account and then using their access to tweet incriminating statements over a period of months, they’d be more likely to use a computer behind some sort of proxy. But the important question here is “What platform does Samira Ibrahim usually tweet from?

If she has an iPhone then these three Android tweets would stand out. If she usually uses another Twitter app (Tweetdeck, say, or Echofon) or only tweets from her computer then these tweets would be suspicious.

But no. Samira Ibrahim’s tweets are all marked either “via Twitter for Android” or “via web”. Her most recent claim that her account had been hacked was posted via, yup, Twitter for Android!

Samira-today

Is this conclusive evidence that Samira Ibrahim’s account was never hacked and that she wrote the offensive tweets herself? Of course not. It could be coincidence that her attacker used the same apps as she did. But taken as a whole, it is extremely unlikely. The tweets were sent over a period of a few weeks, and in the meantime she was active on Twitter as usual.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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  • Carlos

    What gets me about these pro-Palestinian Egyptians is the fact that their own government occupied Gaza 1948-1967, and not only never even mentioned setting up a Palestinian state, they set up a military rule there that was much harsher than when Israel ruled there.

    • mrzee

      There’s a lot of people who are anti-Israel but very very few who are pro-palestinian.

      • Dian Kjaergaard

        So true about anti-Israelis not being pro-Palestinian – at least in any meaningful way. I am currently very interested in the Jerusalem Institute of Justice’s creative and compassionate ideas for meaningful caring as explained in their report “Forever Refugees” (jij.org.il)

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    The wider issue is that John Kerry is never particularly incensed by her views. Virulent antisemitism, is, to this administration no more objectionable than wearing white after Labor Day, something bumpkins do but no noteworthy comment. They object to being called on it, no more.

    • walt kovacs

      kerry has always been a strong supporter of israel

      look at his voting record

  • spindok

    Egypt would be a wonderful place if it were not for the Egyptians.

  • walt kovacs

    arab ho

    i dont care what arab pig men do to their hos

  • dcdoc

    “I refuse to apologize to the Zionist lobby in America regarding my previous anti-Zionist statements under pressure from American government therefore they withdrew the award.”

    What is that, is it a non-denial denial? An example of the “pregnant negative”? An arguendo argument (if I did make “anti-Zionist” statements, why should I be obliged to apologize for them)? What?

    If it amounts to an admission after a denial, then we must count this woman our State Department and First Lady were going to honor a liar as well as a disgusting hateful person?

  • Dian Kjaergaard

    One of the depressing things about this incident is the knee-jerk denial of one’s own responsibility and concomitant blaming of others – something that unfortunately is so common among Muslims, especially Muslim Arabs – “Oh, I was hacked”. And then the anti-Semitic urge was so strong that she admitted (indirectly) that the offending tweets were hers.

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