Israeli official: Swine flu name offensive

JERUSALEM - The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed “Mexican” influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and “we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu,” he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products. […]

How desperate does a Jew have to be to look for common ground via common offense with his killers — by picking on a pig?

In response, however, a Muslim health official agreed, saying that the name “swine flu” is indeed offensive to Muslims, particularly since pigs are ancestors of Jews.

Meanwhile, as a Jew I consider the name suggested by Deputy Health Minister Litzman — Mexican flu — equally offensive, since I don’t eat Mexicans.

There’s something absurd about the whole thing, isn’t there? Shouldn’t killer flus have offensive names? They’re offensive things, after all. For example, you could call something “the Hitler flu”, which would also work for Muslims, as they would not find any offense in it at all.