When the American writer Ben Ehrenreich stayed with the Tamimis of Nabi Saleh to work on his 2013 New York Times magazine cover story that glorified their quest to start a “Third Intifada,” he also met a little girl named Janna. As Ehrenreich recalls in his recently published book that has been praised as a “love letter to Palestine”: “Janna … was about six years old and had bright green eyes and light brown hair, which she wore parted into two braids long enough to reach the small of her back. She was probably the most beautiful child in Nabi Saleh.” By now, Janna is ten and is known as “Janna Jihad” — the Tamimi clan’s newest child star who is cleverly employed to mask their well-documented support for terror and Jew-hatred by presenting the “resistance” they advocate as entirely innocent and outright heart-warming.
Already some two years ago, when Janna was just 8-years-old, one article in the British Daily Mail described her admiringly as “possibly the world’s youngest citizen journalist;” an embedded video clip shows her delivering well-rehearsed talking points, interspersed with scenes from demonstrations, where the little girl does her very best to provoke Israeli soldiers. A video clip posted on Facebook in August 2014 (and since shared by more than 176,000 people) shows a similar scene: little Janna proudly screams in English at a group of Israeli soldiers “we scare you,” denouncing them shortly afterwards as “terrorists” and declaring confidently that “all the world” is with the Palestinians. A woman clad and veiled in black can be glimpsed stroking her head; shortly afterwards (1.15), Janna tells the soldiers “we will kill you.”
Bassem Tamimi — one of the clan’s most prominent members — shared the clip a year later on his Facebook page, adding the comment: “Jana jehad 9 years old in here first visit to Jerusalem the Nabi Saleh school to create the generation of freedom fighter to liberat Palestine.”
Bassem Tamimi’s proud claim that Janna Jihad is a product of “the Nabi Saleh school to create the generation of freedom fighter to liberat Palestine” is in line with many of his other statements about the “duty” of children to “resist;” it also is just another of many examples that show the Tamimis’ cynical exploitation of their children for political purposes.
In this context, it is important to understand what Bassem Tamimi actually means when he declares that “the Nabi Saleh school” educates children to become “freedom fighter[s] to liberat[e] Palestine.” As a first indication, it should be recalled that the Tamimis have repeatedly emphasized how much they love and admire their three family members who are convicted terrorist murderers — including Ahlam Tamimi, the proud and unrepentant mastermind of the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. According to Bassem Tamimi’s wife Nariman, the Sbarro massacre was “an integral part” of the Palestinian “struggle.” I have documented the Tamimis’ ardent support for terrorism and their equally ardent Jew-hatred in great detail; I have also shown that the Tamimis have made it abundantly clear that, as far as they are concerned, “liberating Palestine” requires the elimination of Israel and the expulsion or killing of Israel’s Jews.
Manal Tamimi represents the Tamimis in English on Twitter;
you can find a sample of about 40 of her tweets in this slide show.
This is the environment in which Janna is raised — and it is entirely understandable that media reports designed to promote the Tamimis’ newest child star will studiously ignore the seething hatred and fanaticism displayed so openly by the adults who shape this environment. Janna Jihad’s “career” was probably most effectively promoted earlier this year, when Al Jazeera published a short article and followed up with an AJ+ clip of her that quickly garnered more than 12 million views.
By now, Janna Jihad’s Facebook page has been “liked” by more than 220,000 people; at the time of this writing, the AJ+ clip is pinned at the top of the page, with a personal “thank you” from Janna to AJ+ producer Yasmina Bennani. Janna’s other Facebook page has more than 11,000 followers. At the time of this writing, the top post there links to a German TV program about Janna with the title “A child journalist stops soldiers.”
As you can see from the screenshot below, the first reaction to the post is a flaming “thumbs up” from Facebook user Syed Schaik Jamal; understandably, Janna rewarded his “like” with a “like” of her own.
Janna is just a 10-year old girl who gets lots of praise from her family for all the media attention she is generating; she certainly can’t be expected to check out who compliments her. But if an adult checked it out, s/he would see that Syed Schaik Jamal is an admirer of Hitler (a not uncommon phenomenon among social media users who hate Israel).
The purported Hitler quote displayed on Syed Schaik Jamal’s Facebook cover page says: “It is necessary that I should die for my people; but my spirit will rise from the grave and the world will know that I was right.” Unfortunately, it is doubtful that Janna’s family would find this offensive: Janna’s uncle Bassem has shared explicitly anti-Semitic material on his Facebook page at least once, and her aunt Manal — who is a sister-in-law of Janna’s mother — has posted numerous anti-Semitic texts and images on Twitter.
This is particularly noteworthy given that the German TV report (video) emphasizes that Janna and her friends insisted that they have nothing against Jews. They are quoted as saying: “We like the Jews, we have Jewish friends. We just want the end of the occupation.” The German TV report is not entirely uncritical and even raises the question if Janna is just being exploited — but reporter Susanne Glass from the ARD studio in Tel Aviv apparently had no interest in investigating the views of the adults who are so proud of Janna as an example of the “Nabi Saleh school” that educates children to become “freedom fighter[s] to liberat[e] Palestine.” If Glass had checked out what the Tamimis teach in this “school,” she would have realized that the “curriculum” includes seething Jew-hatred, enthusiastic support for terror attacks, and the ambition to eliminate Israel in order to replace it with a Palestinian state. But while the 8-year old Janna would proudly shout at Israeli soldiers “we will kill you,” the 10-year old Janna has already learned that this is not what you advertise when you market yourself for an international audience as an icon of Palestinian “resistance.”
Quite obviously, media reports about cute little girls must necessarily avoid difficult questions: even if the little girl pretends to be a “journalist,” no reporter would want to ask her what she thinks of her Aunt Ahlam, who is so very proud of having killed eight children, a pregnant woman and six other adults; and no reporter would want to ask a little girl “journalist” if she joined her good friend and cousin Ahed and her parents when they went to the wedding of Aunt Ahlam and Uncle Nizar, who is also a convicted murderer. When you “report” about a little girl who pretends to be a journalist, you can’t ask such questions, and inevitably, you will end up promoting the agenda of the adults who enable the little girl to be a make-believe “journalist.”
Susanne Glass was even worried that her audience might react negatively to Janna’s name Jihad, and she claims that this just happens to be Janna’s family name. However, it seems to be a second given name that Janna’s handlers also considered media-savvy: she has one very popular Facebook page as a “News Personality” under the name Janna Jihad, and another less popular one where she calls herself Janna Jihad Ayyad, apparently after her father Jihad Ayyad. According to Ben Ehrenreich, Janna’s father emigrated to the United States and lives in West Palm Beach; however, Janna’s mother Nawal Tamimi “couldn’t stand the isolation of American life” and decided to return with Janna to Nabi Saleh. A document that Nawal Tamimi publicly shared on Facebook indicates that Janna was born in the US; apparently she also spent her early childhood years there and even began to attend school in the US.
It is therefore interesting to note that Janna confidently told Susanne Glass that her activism was only due to her own initiative, “because here we all get resistance implanted in us right after birth.” Could she have said anything that would show more clearly what a brainwashed little girl she is? And given that Janna’s mother apparently preferred life in Nabi Saleh to West Palm Beach, Nawal Tamimi’s claims about all the trauma caused by Israel should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt.
Perhaps the next reporter who visits the Tamimis to promote their newest child star could ask her mother how she feels about her clan’s most notorious member, the proud and unrepentant murderer of children and their families? But perhaps it’s not really a question that needs to be asked: Ben Ehrenreich has told us already in his “love letter to Palestine” that the Tamimis truly love and admire the convicted murderers in their family; and we know from the social media postings I have documented that the Tamimis enthusiastically cheer each and every new terror attack that is committed, and that they hope fervently that Palestinians (or groups like Hezbollah) will eventually kill enough of Israel’s Jews to make the survivors give up and leave.