USC suspends elderly Jewish prof who called Hamas 'murderers' who 'should be killed'

Economics Professor John Strauss is teaching the rest of the semester remotely after an interaction he had with Palestine supporters in which he called Hamas 'murderers.'

After the exchange, pro-Palestine activists shared an edited version of Strauss' comments that appeared to show him wishing death to all Palestinians.

The University of Southern California has elected to have a professor temporarily removed from campus after he referred to Hamas terrorists as “murderers” who “should be killed.” 

USC recently confirmed that Economics Professor John Strauss will be “teaching his classes remotely through the end of the semester.” While walking past pro-Palestine activists on campus during the afternoon of Nov. 9, Strauss stated: “Hamas are murderers. That’s all they are. Every one should be killed, and I hope they all are.”

[RELATED: 70+ Columbia student groups publish anti-Israel manifesto, demand school reinstate clubs suspended for threats and intimidation]

According to Canary Mission, a watchdog that exposes anti-Semitism on college campuses, the original viral, edited video was captured by a “vicious anti-Israel activist” named Tara Alami. As a result of the misleading, shortened clip of Strauss’ remarks that was also shared by pro-Palestine USC student groups and circulated on social media, it appeared that the professor was wishing death to all Palestinians, not just Hamas terrorists.

In comments provided to the Daily Trojan shortly after the incident, Strauss stated, “I don’t mind if they want to memorialize people who were killed. That’s fine, just as Jewish students are memorializing Israelis who were killed.” He affirmed, “But this started as a result of Hamas terrorist attacks.”

According to the Daily Trojan, Strauss had two brief encounters with Palestine supporters that day while walking to and from one of his courses. The viral video showed his interaction while departing from teaching a class on “Economic Development of Sub-Saharan Africa.”

”Witnesses from the memorial said that, during the second interaction, Strauss intentionally walked across a list of people killed in Gaza that they laid on the ground in front of Tommy Trojan as part of the memorial,” the student newspaper writes. “Strauss told the Daily Trojan that he was trying to move toward a student who had said ‘Shame on you’ and wasn’t paying attention to where he was stepping.”

[RELATED: As Dept. of Ed launches investigation into Cornell, still no word on consequences for prof ‘exhilarated’ by Hamas terrorism]

The Daily Trojan also reports that a letter obtained from Provost Andrew Guzman to Strauss indicated that the move to have him teach remotely was “designed to minimize disruption to the educational environment and to ensure a safe environment for both you and students.” The letter also reportedly disclosed that the university’s response was not punitive or disciplinary.

Competing petitions on have since gained thousands of signatures both for and against Strauss’ employment and reinstatement at the university. 

Strauss is 72-years-old and Jewish, according to the petition calling for his return to campus. A 1973 graduate of Northwestern University, he has taught economics at the university level since 1981.

Campus Reform has contacted USC for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.