Columbia protest leader: 'Be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists'

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A leader of the pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University had a video emerge on social media this week, threatening violence to “Zionists.” 

“Zionists don’t deserve to live,” student Khymani James said in a video from January. He is also heard saying “Be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists.” 

The remarks happened around the time James had a meeting with school officials over a social media post about fighting a Zionist.  

“I don’t fight to injure or for there to be a winner or a loser, I fight to kill,” he said.  

In a post on social media platform X on Friday, James went back on his comments and said they were “wrong.” 

“Every member of our community deserves to feel safe without qualification,” James said.  

He added that those comments when he was “unusually upset after an online mob” targeted him for being “visibly queer and Black.” 

He blames “far-right agitators” for editing the clip without context and noted the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia “made clear that my words in January” were not acceptable.  

“I agree with their assessment,” James said, adding the words “do not represent me.” 

The incident has fueled the flames as the pro-Palestinian protests have caused debate over antisemitism on campus, with bipartisan condemnation of antisemitic incidents that have happened at the demonstrations.  

“Calls of violence and statements targeted at individuals based on their religious, ethnic, or national identity are unacceptable and violate university policy,” a Columbia spokesperson said, but they would not comment on James’s case.  

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