Jewish professor booted from USC campus after condemning Hamas
- Strauss clashed with pro-Palestinian protestors during a march at the California university
- He was put on administrative leave with full pay amid growing backlash
An economics professor from the University of Southern California has been banished from the campus after demonstrators shared edited footage of him condemning Hamas.
John Strauss, who is Jewish, will ‘be teaching his two classes remotely for the rest of the semester,’ USC told The College Fix after video circulated of him engaging with protestors at a pro-Palestinian march in November.
In longer footage, the professor walks past the demonstration as protestors say not to interact with him. He says: ‘People are ignorant. Really ignorant.’
Turning to face the students, he says: ‘Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are.’
But Instagram accounts purporting to represent students and graduates of USC then shared an edited version with the line, ‘Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are’, cutting prior comments on Hamas.
It was unclear from the redacted version who Strauss was talking about.
The line was shared on a change.org petition, calling for his ‘termination’ and claiming his remarks ‘are not only offensive but also promote and incite violence’.
Strauss has since claimed that his comments were misrepresented. ‘Every one of them, of course, referred to Hamas,’ he told Annenberg Media, a USC-focused news outlet. ‘Then that later was changed to, in the video that was released publicly that was heavily doctored, to Palestinians should be murdered. And that’s not what I said at all.’
Annenberg Media reported that Strauss was later put on administrative leave with full pay, allowed to continue teaching his PhD and undergraduate classes via Zoom only. It was not exactly clear from the report what led to Strauss being put on leave.
Strauss was seen in the video engaging with pro-Palestine supporters during a march earlier this month.
Students had organized a temporary installation with the names of Palestinian civilians killed during Israel’s ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which follows Hamas’ October 7 invasion into Israel and slaughter of more than 1,200 civilians.
Strauss said he was provoked by what he felt were anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments overheard while walking to class.
‘I’m Jewish, I’m very pro-Israel,’ he told USC Annenberg Media. ‘And so I yelled out ‘Israel forever. Hamas are murderers.’
A change.org petition set up by USC Trojans – a football team at the university – slammed the lecturer for ‘his racist, xenophobic behavior, including stepping on names during a memorial service at USC for over 10k innocent civilians that lost their lives in Palestine’.
Strauss maintains stepping on the list was accidental and that he was only trying to get closer to the protestors to speak to them.
Header featured image (edited) credit: Strauss at the USC campus/Annenberg Media
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