Australia/Israel Review


Scribblings: Hamas’ statistics regarding “women and children”

Dec 20, 2023 | Tzvi Fleischer

As the AIR has previously noted, all casualty statistics regarding Gaza come from the Hamas-run Health Ministry – even though some media outlets insist they are “UN statistics”. The UN has absolutely no capacity to count such casualties and simply rebrands Gaza Health Ministry numbers. 

The numbers widely reported are highly dubious, not just because Hamas officials have every reason to lie about them, but also because it is simply not credible that they could be anything like accurate amidst the fog of war. It took Israel about six weeks to get an accurate count of how many people were killed in the October 7 attacks. Yet the so-called-Gaza Health Ministry claims to put out accurate figures about casualties within a day of when they happen.

If the overall casualty numbers are dubious, widely reported claims that 70% or more of the people being killed in the Gaza conflict with Israel are “women and children” are even more so. As researcher Saul Aizenberg has noted by reviewing Hamas’ own figures as republished by the UN, there are huge and obvious anomalies in the supposed statistics on woman and child casualties.

For example: 

  • The UN reported on Dec. 5 a cumulative total of 16,248 Gazan fatalities, 1,041 more than it reported on Dec. 2. Yet for the same period the UN reported 1,353 new fatalities among women and children. In other words, somehow more women and children died over those three days than the total number of people who died in that period.
  • Similarly, on Oct. 19 the UN’s cumulative fatality figure rose by 307. On that same day, the number of children newly reported killed increased by 671.
  • On Oct. 26, the UN reported an increase of 481 cumulative fatalities, but reported women and children killed increased by 626.
  • On Oct. 29, the UN reported 302 new fatalities, but the number of women and children killed increased by 328.
  • There were other days as well where Israeli actions are alleged to have killed almost no adult men at all. On Oct. 31, only six out of 216 claimed casualties are supposed to have been adult men, on Nov. 7, four out of 306, and 44 out of 929 on Dec. 7. These numbers seem impossible; even if Israel was doing everything in its power to attempt to kill only women and children and no adult men.

The figures above make no logical sense, meaning the ‘UN figures’ (aka Hamas figures) on women and children killed are, at best, completely arbitrary and unreliable, or, at worst, fabricated. 

And these huge anomalies are on top of the fact that the statistics do not even purport to differentiate armed combatants from civilians (and some of the supposed “children” killed may well be combatants, since Hamas and other armed groups are known to routinely recruit 16- and 17-year-olds.) Further, it is a known fact that the Gaza Ministry of Health statistics include numerous deaths caused by Palestinian “friendly fire” – such as the 487 people it claims died when the carpark of the al-Ahli Hospital was struck by a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket. 

Yet the numbers of women and children allegedly being killed are widely brandished to condemn Israel – not only by activists but by supposed journalists who should know better. 

Civilians are certainly dying in Gaza and that is utterly tragic – though also a predictable and inevitable outcome of Hamas’ human shield strategy. But it is time for our media to admit we have no idea exactly how many, and certainly not how many of them are women or children. 

 

Quantifying the Beijing Blues

In this column last month, I called attention to the fact that, since October 7, China has been a major source of not only global pro-Hamas content on social media, but also of openly antisemitic material. I noted that one main vector spreading this material is the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok – which is used primarily by younger people.

Recently, US-based Australian tech entrepreneur Anthony Goldbloom set out to quantify how pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas the content on TikTok is. He found that, in early December, American-based users of TikTok were seeing 54 times more pro-Palestine posts than pro-Israel content, up from 36 times more in early November.

Australian-based users of TikTok saw even more skewed content – 60:1 in favour of Palestine.

Below is the chart of the comparative US views of various TikTok hashtags he published based on data from late November:

A later study organised by Goldbloom showed that Americans spending at least 30 minutes a day on TikTok were 17% more likely to agree with various expressions of antisemitic or extreme anti-Israel views. 

In November, a group of more than 50 Jewish TikTok social media influencers, content creators, and celebrities blasted TikTok in an open letter for not doing more to counteract antisemitism and online hatred on the platform. Many of them – including celebrities Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing, and Amy Schumer – then participated in a private video call with TikTok executives and accused the video-sharing app of “creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis.”

In early December, Jewish employees also anonymously told Fox Business that co-workers at TikTok routinely harass them, spread calls to boycott companies and products related to Israel, and openly expressed antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments on the company’s internal chat system. 

The company has met with Jewish leaders and says it is committed to fixing the problem, but Goldbloom’s data strongly suggests the opposite is happening.

Meanwhile, on the internal Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, openly antisemitic content is reportedly reaching millions – much of it originating from Iranian government outlets – promoted both by government-blessed “influencers” and official government spokesmen. Israel also no longer appears in the two major Chinese map platforms. 

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