Only science fiction explains the UN’s parallel universe

Netflix’s new series, 3 Body Problem, provides an insight into how Israel’s Gaza operations are perceived.


Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as Spock and Kirk in Star Trek episode 'Mirror, Mirror'

April 03, 2024 08:49

I’ve been watching Netflix’s new sci-fi series, 3 Body Problem. It’s very good – as it should be at a reported cost of $160 million. Apart from anything else, it brilliantly brings to life some of the most complicated concepts of theoretical physics, so you don’t even realise you are thinking about these ideas as you follow what’s going on.

I won’t give away the plot, other than to say that one of the key concepts it deals with is the multiverse – the idea that there are any number of parallel universes existing alongside each other. This is where I reveal my inner Trekkie. One of my favourite Star Trek episodes is Mirror, Mirror, when a transporter problem beams Captain Kirk and his team into a parallel universe in which the Enterprise is part of a conquering empire and promotion is secured by killing rival officers.

I’ve been struggling to explain to myself, let alone to anyone else, how events in the Middle East of the past few months, let alone recent decades, could be properly explained in a deeper way than simply, “they hate Jews” (not that that isn’t almost always true). For much of the time, it’s as if – here we go – people are living in parallel universes.

Take the casualty figures cited since Israel began its response to Hamas’ massacre on October 7. This week’s tragic killing of aid workers in Gaza has rightly been universally condemned. And although the exact circumstances need to be fully investigated and the results published, there is no doubt that the actual incident happened. But that is not the case with the overall casualty figures that are widely bandied about.    

According to the BBC, the White House, and now even our own foreign secretary, Israel has killed over 30,000 people in Gaza, 70 per cent of whom are women and children. Occasionally someone will use the caveat “according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health”, but they then go on to use the figures as if they are, obviously, correct.

But if you dig into them, it’s pretty clear that those figures exist only in a parallel universe in which the laws of statistics, biology and physics do not apply. Separate studies, one published in Fathom and one in Tablet, show, as data scientist Professor Abraham Wyner of the University of Pennsylvania concludes in the latter, that this civilian death toll is statistically impossible: “The daily totals increase too consistently to be real”, rising daily “with almost metronomical linearity”.

Wyner says that Hamas “assigned about 70 per cent of the total to be women and children, splitting that amount randomly from day to day. Then they in-filled the number of men as set by the predetermined total. This explains all the data observed.” In some data sets, men must have come back to life while on several days no men were apparently killed, only women.

Do read his findings in full – they’re available on the Tablet website. But you don’t need to be a data scientist to appreciate how obviously nonsense the overall figures are. Hamas itself said last month that 6000 of its fighters have been killed. That represents more than 20 per cent of the overall total deaths that Hamas claims. But if, as Hamas says, 70 per cent of those killed have been women and children, then if the normal laws of maths apply then, on Hamas’s figures, barely any male civilians at all have been killed since Israel began its operation in Gaza – or, conversely, pretty much every male in Gaza is a Hamas fighter.

Rather, the near certainty is that, as Prof Wyner puts it, “the casualties are not overwhelmingly women and children, and the majority may be Hamas fighters”. Indeed, the actual ratio of civilian casualties to Hamas terrorists is “at most 1.4 to 1 and perhaps as low as 1 to 1”.

See what I mean about parallel universes? Those who cite Hamas’ casualty figures are living in a parallel universe where 2+2 does not equal 4 but whatever Hamas declares it to be.

It's the same phenomenon over aid and the supposed famine that is engulfing Gaza as a result of Israel – in this other parallel universe – refusing to allow enough food or medical supplies in. (You hardly need me to tell you that the UN operates in a parallel universe. The UN Human Rights Council, after all, exists not so much in a parallel universe as in a deranged antisemitic fantasy world.)

The recent report by the UN’s Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee (FRC) said that famine was likely by May in northern Gaza, and by July in other parts of the Strip. Last week, however, COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry body responsible for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories (COGAT stands for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) demolished the “multiple factual and methodological flaws” in the IPC’s report, which was – of course – based on Hamas supplied figures.

For one thing, the IPC simply repeated as fact the Hamas health ministry’s assertion that less than one litre of water per person was available per day, when the actual figure is 20. COGAT has provided incontrovertible photographic and other evidence of between 150 and 200 aid trucks entering daily – what is actually an 80 per cent increase in food supplies since before October 7. The problem, as anyone who lives in our actual universe rather than the parallel one in which the Jews are trying to starve the Gazans, is that the UN’s own agencies in Gaza, and some of the aid organisations, have been unable to distribute supplies which are waiting on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing for UN distribution by aid workers – in large part because of Hamas, which is deliberately pushing the narrative of starvation by the Israelis. And the UN, of course, repeats it as fact.

This week a series of pictures has emerged on social and Palestinian media showing markets in Gaza full of food – indeed there is now so much available that, as one vendor told reporters, "an average family can now buy products for a hearty meal with 100 shekels, compared to 200 shekels required for such a meal just a few days ago."

As 3 Body Problem shows, there are an infinite number of these parallel universes. The accusation, for example, that Israel is engaged in genocide, rather than in an astonishingly precise and carefully planned attempt to destroy a terrorist organisation, is patently the product of a parallel universe. You can, I am afraid, take your pick from many more.

April 03, 2024 08:49

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