A petition has been launched by StopAntisemitism.org to condemn a USC professor for categorizing Israeli zionists as a terrorist group in a class presentation on Oct. 26, 2017.
International relations professor David Kang teaches IR 210: International Relations Introductory Analysis, a mandatory course for all international relations majors and minors and a GE Category C course. In a lecture, a slide titled “Who are terrorists?” listed nine supposed terrorist groups and individuals, including the Colombian rebel group FARC, the Tamil Tigers, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Israeli zionists were third on the list.
“The slide in question was intended to point out that national heroes of all types are called terrorists by their opponents,” Kang said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “Every group listed is a hero to some people and criticized by others.”
Earlier this week, StandWithUs, a pro-Israel organization, promoted the petition on Facebook, helping it garner 7,871 signatures at the time of publication.
“By creating an equation between ‘Israeli Zionists’ and terrorist groups, Professor Kang has abused his authority — teaching a mandatory class — and has created a hostile environment for Pro-Israel and Jewish students at USC,” StandWithUs said in its Facebook post. The post has been shared almost 400 times and has received hundreds of comments.
The petition calls upon President C. L. Max Nikias and Provost Michael Quick, in addition to the rest of the USC community, to explicitly condemn Kang.
“We would like USC to speak out against the bigotry Professor Kang expressed and take concrete steps to ensure that anti-Israel sentiments and other forms of bigotry do not have a home on campus,” the petition said.
In response to the petition circulating social media, Kang has been working with the Rabbi of Chabad and the Executive Director of Hillel on an official statement to be published in the next few days.
“There are real racists out there,” Kang said. “To be attacked by ‘friendly fire’ is really missing the target. I find it surreal that I am being attacked for something I didn’t say and don’t believe.”
According to Quick, the core principles of any university include upholding academic freedom, and statements made by faculty members are not endorsed by the University.
“Indeed, we sometimes profoundly disagree with those statements,” Quick said in an email to the Daily Trojan. “Nevertheless, we protect and support their right to express those views. We also support everyone’s right to sign on to any petition they wish, but such expressions and calls for censorship will not be used by the University to influence a faculty member’s scholarly pursuits.”