A petition has been launched to reinstate University of Southern California (USC) economics professor John Strauss, who is Jewish, after he was barred from campus over a doctored video circulated by anti-Israel activists falsely claiming that the professor said all Palestinians should be killed.
“We, people from USC and across the nation deeply troubled by the evident double standard applied to a Jewish professor, write to you with deep concern and a SENSE OF URGENCY regarding the unjust actions being taken against Professor John Strauss,” the petition begins.
The petition, titled, “Demand USC to Bring Back Jewish Professor John Strauss on Campus,” was launched on November 13, and has already amassed nearly 16,000 signatures.
“The recent events around his forced administrative leave, barring him from campus, have not only raised serious questions about double standards in the application of free speech principles at USC but have exposed the disturbing pattern of misinformation and targeted harassment that continues to take place on our campus,” the petition read.
“Moreover, what is particularly disturbing is that Jen Byers published an article on Annenberg Media, which intentionally distorted Professor Strauss’s words,” it added.
Therefore, Strauss “has been placed on forced administrative leave with full pay due to the false accusations and manipulated reporting that have fueled calls for his termination,” the petition explained. “This means he is not allowed on campus and must teach his class through Zoom.”
As Breitbart News reported, Strauss was barred from campus after saying that all Hamas terrorists should be killed.
On November 9, the 72-year-old professor was walking to his class when he passed by a pro-Palestinian rally on campus. As the professor walked past the demonstration, he heard protestors issuing antisemitic chants, such as “Down with Israel” and “From the river to the sea.”
In response, Strauss said, “Israel forever. Hamas are murderers,” and then walked to his class. Later, while passing by the rally again on his way back from class, protestors shouted, “Shame on you, Professor Strauss,” to which Strauss replied, stating, “No, shame on you. You are ignorant. Really ignorant.”
“Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed. And I hope they all are,” the professor added.
While multiple eyewitnesses and video footage shows that Strauss was specifically referring to the Hamas terrorist organization, an anti-Israel activist deceptively edited the video to make it look like he was talking about Palestinian civilians and posted it to social media, where it went viral.
While the university cited concerns for the professor’s safety as why it barred him from campus, organizers of the petition ask, “Is this just an appeasement strategy, giving concessions to students threatening Professor Strauss?”
“Professor Strauss has adamantly requested to return to campus,” the petition disclosed. “Jewish people have not come this far by hiding in fear. Perpetrators of violence and false accusations must be removed, not their victims.”
“We demand that the University of Southern California promptly reinstate Professor Strauss with adequate protection and conduct a comprehensive review of university policies,” the petition proclaimed.
Notably, USC’s free speech policy states: “The legitimate expression of differing opinions and concerns, including unpopular, controversial or dissident viewpoints, is an essential element of the academic process.”