125 Jews were massacred and hundreds were wounded by Palestinian suicide murderers that month. Yet unsurprisingly my stricken friend declined comment.
My friend seems to amuse his Arab colleagues: Appearing at a conference some years ago at Cairo's American University, an Egyptian fellow panelist quipped to the audience that our mutual friend was "more pro-Palestinian than me--I am more pro-Israel than him."
Incidentally, this college has since instituted a ban on Israeli academics.
At this point allow me to complicate things: It's easy to assume that those struck with Jew Flu would be contemptuous of Jewish religious observance. They often hold Marxist views, which would imply an atheist outlook.
Yet what one should one make of my friend who performs Kiddush on Friday nights, fasts on Yom Kippur and uses two sets of dishes in his kosher kitchen? Would such Jewish customs be performed by an anti-Semite?
Knesset speaker Avrum Burg is a lifelong modern orthodox Jew, a skull capped davener [one who prays] whose Jew Flu was latent for years but burst out into the open when he took to smearing Israel in Nazi-like browns.
Daniel and Jonathan Boyarin are pleasant, prominent and yarmulked [skull-capped] professors of Jewish history who don tefilin [Jewish phylactery] daily, daven [pray] on Shabbat and holidays and are easily mistaken in appearance for West Bank settlers.
Yet Daniel is comfortable vilifying Israel regularly as a violent outlaw state. And Jonathan admitted to me some years ago during an especially sweaty Simchat Torah "hakafa" on the Lower East Side that his views are identical if not even more radical than Daniel's (if that was possible.)
Actually, it is interesting that the views of such radical yet observant Jews resemble the tenets of Catholic Liberation Theology. But could such a trio be accused of outright anti-Semitism?
The Burgs and Boyarins of this world have long revered another devout Jew, the departed Yishayahu Leibowitz, a renowned scholar, recipient of the Israel Prize, and editor of the Hebrew Encyclopedia, a Jerusalemite who habitually referred to drafted Israeli soldiers who happened to be defending his charmed way of life as "Judeo-Nazis."
Was Leibowitz an anti-Semite?
Submitting their pronouncements to the Sharansky test demonstrates that even tefilin wearing, kosher food eating Kiddush reciters can speak and write like an Anti Semite
But back to the elusive cause of Jew Flu: what makes one Jew vulnerable and not another? Wouldn't a far larger proportion of Jews fall prey to Jew Flu if, say, Stockholm syndrome was the culprit? Is there a prime mover, some physiological or neurological smoking gun pointing to a root cause?
There may be. David Brooks recently reported in the New York Times on research by a Haifa University team led by Reem Yahya who studied the brains scans of Arabs and Jews while showing them images of hands and feet in painful situations.
Brooks reports that "the two cultures perceived pain differently. The Arabs perceived higher levels of pain over all while the Jews were more sensitive to pain suffered by members of a group other than their own (italics my own)."