Pro-Israel influencers push “revised” Gaza death toll over the weekend

Melnikov Dmitriy/ShutterStock (Licensed)

Pro-Israel influencers push to rebrand death toll in Gaza as ‘phenomenal, life-saving achievement’

The data they're citing though doesn't say what they're claiming.


Marlon Ettinger


Posted on Apr 15, 2024

Over the weekend, pro-Israel influencers and posters pushed a “revised” death toll allegedly released by Gaza’s health ministry. According to posts and infographics shared by the influencers and posters, Gaza’s health ministry recently released a statement changing the civilian death toll count in the latest phase of Israel’s war in Gaza, which began last October.

“Breaking, Hamas admits casualty numbers were grossly overinflated, 33K Gazans not killed,” posted the pro-Israeli organization Stop Antisemitism on their Instagram account on Saturday.

“Hamas is now saying Israel has killed 22,000, not 33,000 Gazans (of which 13k were Hamas terrorists). What does this mean? The combatant to noncombatant ratio in this war is greater than 1:1, which is a phenomenal, life-saving achievement,” they captioned the post.

Many of the pro-Israel posters highlighted the claim that the so-called new numbers meant that the “combatant to noncombatant ratio” in the conflict is “greater than 1:1.”

“gaza math,” read the title of another post from @antisemitismtoday. “Hamas is now saying Israel has killed 22K (not 33K) Gazans. 13K of those killed were Hamas terrorists. The combatant to noncombatant ratio is greater than 1:1.”

The social media push to share the numbers came on the back of a report by a pro-Israeli American think tank, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD).

A post from The Free Press’ Peter Savodnik on X highlighted FDD’s report, claiming that the revised combatant-to-noncombatant ratio, if true, “would be a phenomenal, life-saving achievement.”

“Unsurprisingly, legacy media is crickets,” Savodnik commented.

But despite a swarm of social media posts commenting on the report, the report doesn’t say that Gaza’s health ministry, which is run by Hamas, actually did revise the death toll in Gaza downwards. 

Instead, according to the FDD’s analysis, the Ministry of Health “admit[ted] to flaws in casualty data” in an update it released on April 6. Pointing to posts and documents uploaded on the Ministry of Health’s Telegram channel, the FDD wrote that the Ministry of Health had said that it had ‘incomplete data’ for 11,371 of the 33,091 Palestinian fatalities it documented.

“In a statistical report,” the FDD report noted, “the ministry notes that it considers an individual record to be incomplete if it is missing any of the following key data points: identity number, full name, date of birth, or date of death.”

In posts in Arabic on the Ministry of Health’s Telegram channel which the FDD linked to, the Ministry called on families of the dead and missing to fill in the missing data through an attached Google Form, according to a machine translation of the post. 

And rather than walk back or reduce the civilian death toll, in the same string of posts, the ministry noted in Arabic that “the toll of the Israeli aggression has risen to 33,137 martyrs and 75,815 injuries since the seventh of last October,” according to a machine translation of the post.

None of that stopped pro-Israel influencers from running with the claim that Hamas “now admits only 22,000 have been killed in Gaza,” many using similar phrasing and hitting the same talking points.

“Hamas now admits only 22k have been killed in Gaza. Given *at least* 13k are estimated to be terrorists, means the combatant to noncombatant ratio is greater than 1:1,” posted @Ostrov_A on X. “This is phenomenal and unprecedented, for which Israel & IDF needs to be applauded!”

“There’s more: subtract 13k Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants and the number is 9k,” posted @JewishSpaceLazr, referencing the number of civilian casualties.  

“If you then subtract 3k natural expected deaths and 2.5k killed by Hamas rocket misfires and murders, it’s down to 4,500. No matter what the number, it’s a fraction of what Hamas has claimed.”

But other posts pushed back on the claims by the pro-Israeli posters.

“Nah you’re lying,” @History__Speaks replied to Savodnik’s post. “They say 11,371 of the deaths they recorded have incomplete records, meaning they lack either an identity number, full name, date of birth, or date of death. That does not mean these deaths are ‘overcounts.’ The US government and Israeli intelligence consider them to be credible. Meanwhile, Israel provides zero corroboration for its figure of Hamas killed, which you credulously accept.”

Other posts were astounded at the way some posters were twisting the report to downplay the number of reported civilian casualties in Gaza.

“that isn’t what the article says,” @ViniDiMambro replied to Savodnik’s post. they have partial dad on 11k deaths. they’re still dead. there are also almost certainly 1000s of deaths in which they have no data at all on as well.”

“This is really convincing if you just kind of glide past the comical assumptions and bald faced lies involved,” added @Deve_Dy sarcastically in response to @JewishSpaceLazr’s post.

The internet is chaotic—but we’ll break it down for you in one daily email. Sign up for the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter here to get the best (and worst) of the internet straight into your inbox.

Share this article
*First Published: Apr 15, 2024, 3:51 pm CDT