‘Janna Jihad’ doesn’t sound like a real name. It sounds like the nom de porn of an actress in some recondite cinematic genre in which the explosive belt is kept on, but not much else. Or perhaps the nom de guerre adopted by one of those Europeans who popped out to the shops one afternoon in 2015 and then turned up in ISIS territory
‘Janna Jihad’ promises a hybrid of the two great spectacles of our time, pornography and terrorism — a brand where Janna Hicks, American protagonist of spectacles like Sneaky Selfie Student and MILF Hunter, meets Abu Jihad, Palestinian protagonist of spectacles like the hijacking of a bus in Israel, which led to the murder of 37 passengers, 12 of them children.
In fact, Janna Jihad’s name really is Janna Jihad. She’s Janna Jihad Ayyad, a 13-year-old ‘activist’ born in Florida but now living in her father’s village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, and she’s the fresh, young face of terrorist propaganda. The ‘youngest accredited journalist in the world’, Janna is the latest product of the Palestinian attempt to mobilize children against Israel. If anyone else did that, Amnesty International would call it abuse or grooming. Do it against Israel, and Amnesty will call it ‘resistance’, and use child exploitation to promote a violently anti-Israel and anti-American agenda in the US.
Janna’s social media presentation is highly accomplished. She has her own Twitter page, in which she speaks in the first person. There are soft-focus shots of Janna tearfully holding a video camera; of Janna in traditional dress; of Janna in a keffiyah, pondering where Yasser Arafat hid all that American money; Janna smiling toothily as she imagines the Zionist occupier chased into the sea by the swords of the fedayeen. There are also shots from Janna’s recent US tour.
It appears that Janna, like just about everyone else in Nabi Saleh, is part of the al-Tamimi clan. In 2001, Janna’s relative Ahlam al-Tamimi was scout and driver for the Hamas suicide attack on the Sbarro pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, which killed 15 people, including seven children and a pregnant woman, and wounded 130 more. She has stated that she has no regrets. When the FBI put Ahlam on its Most Wanted list, her relative Nariman al-Tamimi launched a Facebook campaign in support of Ahlam’s ‘sacrifices’.
Nariman’s husband Bassem talks of a ‘Nabi Saleh school to create the generation of freedom fighter to liberate Palestine’ [sic]. In 2015, Bassem al-Tamimi’s speaking tour of the US was sponsored by a rainbow alliance of tax-exempt crackpots including the hungry anti-Zionists of Vegans Against the Occupation; the theological perverts of Friends of Sabeel North America (a Palestinian Christian group who claim that the Palestinians are a political Jesus, crucified by the wicked Jews); a congeries of front groups with deceptively reasonable names like the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center; and, of course, the hand-wringing hypocrites of Amnesty International. Amnesty promoted Bassem al-Tamimi as a ‘peace activist’, only for Bassem to go off-script by claiming on Facebook that the Israelis harvest the organs of Palestinian children. Perhaps he had heard this from Vegans Against the Occupation.
The most famous graduate of Bassem’s school for child exploitation is Ahed al-Tamimi, that paradox of political correctness, a blue-eyed blonde adopted as an icon by ignorant Westerners who think that Israelis are all blue-eyed blonds from Russia and Palestinians are all ‘people of color’. Bassem put her in front of the cameras as a child; she is now globally famous for picking fights with Israeli soldiers. Janna, who made her screen debut at nine in a film in which the juvenile ‘peace activist’ shouts ‘We will kill you’ at some baffled Israeli soldiers, is the school’s latest graduate.
Call it the Walt Disney school of foreign policy. But look at the adults who supported Janna’s US tour in July and August. American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), for instance. The Anti-Defamation League describes the AMP’s precursor group, the Islamic Association for Palestine, as ‘the main propaganda arm for Hamas in the United States’. On July 24, Rashida Tlaib spoke at an AMP briefing on Capitol Hill. Little over a week later, Tlaib, who apparently has nothing pressing to do for her constituents in Michigan, made time for Janna to interview her. They discussed what Tlaib coyly calls the ‘one-state solution’.
Phillipe Nassif of Amnesty said Amnesty was ‘proud to host Janna in Washington, DC’ and called her ‘an inspiration to us all’. Another host was an obscure NGO called al-Marsad, which advances the Syrian claim to the Israeli part of the Golan Heights by propagandizing against Israel. Al-Marsad has previously received funds from German Catholic charity Misereor; a now-defunct Yemen-based operation called the Arab Human Rights Foundation; and, curiously, the French Consulate in Jerusalem. Al-Marsad is now entirely supported by the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders, whose funders include the EU and the Open Society Foundation.
The list goes on. Here’s Code Pink’s starstruck founder Ariel Gold, yukking it up for the camera. Here’s Farrakhan chum and alleged anti-Semite Marc Lamont Hill, who poses as a lover of peace but says ‘Palestine must be free, from the river to the sea’, which is interpreted as a call for war or genocide. Here’s Miko Peled, a nutty far-left Israeli who has compared Zionism to Nazism and, as a guest of Britain’s Labour Party, called for people to debate the historical veracity of ‘the Holocaust: yes or no’.
The only event at which Janna Jihad was among her peers was an ‘interactive workshop’ with the Summer Fun Program at the Palestinian American Community Center in Clifton, New Jersey. The rest is political pornography, the exploitation of childhood as a media strategy. But it won’t work here, will it? I mean, only self-infantilizers and the maliciously sentimental would fall for this psychotic Shirley Temple nonsense. Not college professors, members of Congress, and human rights’ organizations. Oh wait…
Dominic Green is Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA.