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Student Leader of Columbia Protests: ‘Zionists Don’t Deserve to Live’

Video of incendiary comments by one of the leaders of the student protest encampment at Columbia University surfaced online Thursday evening, forcing the school to again confront an issue at the core of the conflict rippling across campuses nationwide: the tension between pro-Palestinian activism and antisemitism.

The student, Khymani James, said in the January video that “Zionists don’t deserve to live” and “Be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists.”

Mr. James, made the comments during and after a disciplinary hearing with Columbia administrators that he recorded and then posted on Instagram.

The hearing, conducted by an associate director of the university’s Center for Student Success and Intervention, was focused on an earlier comment he shared on social media, in which he discussed fighting a Zionist. “I don’t fight to injure or for there to be a winner or a loser, I fight to kill,” he wrote.

A Columbia administrator asked, “Do you see why that is problematic in any way?”

Mr. James replied, “No.”

The remarks were widely shared on social media and go to the heart of a question that has been swirling around the protests: How much of the movement is driven by sincere concern for the suffering of Gazans, and how much is tainted by antisemitism?

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