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‘What I said was wrong,’ says Columbia protest leader who said Zionists don’t deserve to live

The Columbia University student Khymani James wrote that he wanted “people to have more context for my words, which I regret.”

Anti-Israel protesters set up an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York, April 22, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Anti-Israel protesters set up an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York, April 22, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.

A Columbia University student and a leader of the antisemitic protests on campus is seeking to provide “context” to a statement he made that Zionists don’t deserve to live.

“Zionists don’t deserve to live,” Khymani James said. “Be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists,” he added. “I’ve never hurt anyone in my life, and I hope to keep it that way.”

Shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Friday, James wrote that what he said was wrong: “Every member of our community deserves to feel safe without qualification.”

“I also want people to have more context for my words, which I regret,” James said. “Far-right agitators went through months of my social-media feed until they found a clip that they edited without context. When I recorded it, I had been feeling unusually upset after an online mob targeted me because I am visibly queer and black.”

James added that he is “frustrated” that his words—apparently calling for genocide against Jews—have “become a distraction from the movement for Palestinian liberation.”

“I misspoke in the heat of the moment, for which I apologize,” he said.

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