Petition condemns IR professor’s presentation

A petition has been launched by 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 said the slide was meant to discuss people who were considered terrorists by their opponents and didn’t reflect his personal opinion. Photo from Den Martinez on Flickr.

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.”

5 replies
  1. david
    david says:

    Just because you have state sanctioned military uniforms and weapons given to you by the U.S. does not mean that you are the good guys.
    For every Israeli that dies in the conflict, 33 Palestinians die. You tell me who is doing all the killing.

  2. Brooklyn Ease
    Brooklyn Ease says:

    These are not “scholarly pursuits” that are being discussed by Prof. Kang in the classroom, so the statement by the Provost is misplaced. Freedom of expression is not protected from accountability at a private university. This rhetoric, with the intended loss of meaningful distinction of what is terrorism, appropriate defense, or “….another person’s freedom fighter” are points of view that the university should not support nor condone; and not “sometimes”, but always. .

  3. ModernMaccabi
    ModernMaccabi says:

    Some people (not me) think that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group. Imagine the outrage if Professor Kang used BLM to make the same point he did about Israeli Zionists.

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