The University of Southern California has banned a Jewish professor with tenure from teaching on campus for the rest of the semester for criticizing the Hamas terrorist organization.
Economics Professor John Strauss confronted anti-Israel demonstrators during a “Shut it Down for Palestine” protest on the USC campus on November 9.
The demonstrators accused Strauss of stepping on a list of people killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and yelled "shame on you, Professor Strauss, shame on you."
The professor responded: “No, shame on you. You people are ignorant. Really ignorant. Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are.”
A clip cutting the first part of Strauss' comment in which he specified he was talking about Hamas was posted on social media, making it appear that he was calling for all Palestinian Arabs in Gaza to be killed.
About a dozen students complained to the university administration and claimed that Strauss threatened them. The next day, the associate dean called Strauss and told him he was being placed on administrative leave would only be allowed to teach his courses remotely for the rest of the semester.
Strauss said in an interview with USC Annenberg Media that his comments were misrepresented to portray him as calling for the murder of Palestinian Arabs. “I’m Jewish, I’m very pro-Israel,” he said. “And so I yelled out ‘Israel forever. Hamas are murderers.’”
A petition calling on the university to fire Strauss has garnered over 6,700 signatures. A competing petition demanding the university allow Strauss to teach on campus has garnered over 9,200 signatures.