White House condemns Columbia student remarks about 'murdering Zionists': 'A wakeup call'


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The White House criticized a Columbia University student’s remarks about “murdering Zionists,” with the student later being banned from the university campus.

Columbia junior Khymani James expressed “regret” early Friday after a video of him previously suggesting people should be “grateful” he wasn’t “murdering Zionists” went viral online. 

Without explicitly mentioning what they were, James made the inflammatory comments that were first reported by The Daily Wire, during a livestream of an official Columbia inquiry in January.

COLUMBIA STUDENT BANNED FROM CAMPUS AFTER REMARKS ABOUT ‘MURDERING ZIONISTS’

“These dangerous, appalling statements turn the stomach and should serve as a wakeup call,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “It is hideous to advocate for the murder of Jews. President Biden has been clear that violent rhetoric, hate speech, and Antisemitic remarks have no place in America whatsoever, and he will always stand against them.” 

Tents and Khymani James split image

Columbia junior Khymani James expressed “regret” early Friday after a video of him previously suggesting people should be “grateful” he wasn’t “murdering Zionists” went viral online.  (Getty Images)

When asked by Axios if a White House employee would be fired if they made such statements, Bates said, “they would be fired immediately.”

A Columbia University spokesperson said on Friday James had been banned from the campus, with university sources telling Fox News Digital disciplinary proceedings are now underway.

The University had previously put out a campus update calling the video “extremely alarming and upsetting.”

COLUMBIA PROTEST LEADER EXPRESSES ‘REGRET’ FOR DISCUSSING ‘MURDERING ZIONISTS,’ SAYING THEY SHOULDN’T EXIST

“Calls of violence and statements targeted at individuals based on their religious, ethnic, or national identity are unacceptable and violate university policy,” the statement said. “When there are violations of student conduct policies, they are reviewed and disciplinary measures are applied.”

“We know that many of you feel threatened by the atmosphere and the language being used and have had to leave campus,” Columbia said in a statement released by the President’s Office on Friday. “That is unacceptable. Many of you also are concerned about being able to speak out for a cause you feel passionately about. That also is unacceptable. Fundamental to the research and teaching mission of our university is academic freedom and an environment free from discrimination and harassment for every member of our community.

“What is a Zionist? A White supremacist,” James said in the resurfaced video.

Columbia University anti-Israel protest

A Columbia University spokesperson said on Friday James had been banned from the campus, with university sources telling Fox News Digital disciplinary proceedings are now underway. (Getty Images)

“Be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists,” he said at another point. “I’ve never hurt anyone in my life, and I hope to keep it that way.” 

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James was recently quoted by outlets such as CBS News and The New York Times as a spokesman for the anti-Israel protests at Columbia. In 2021, he was profiled in the Boston Globe at age 17 about his “confrontational” approach to fighting “injustice.”

President Joe Biden has not yet traveled to Columbia University but recently came under fire for his statement in response to whether he condemns anti-Israel protests on college campuses. 

President Biden speaks

President Joe Biden has not yet traveled to Columbia University but recently came under fire for his statement in response to whether he condemns anti-Israel protests on college campuses. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Following the president’s Earth Day comments at Prince William Forest Park in Virginia, reporters caught up with Biden and asked, “Do you condemn the antisemitic protests on college campuses?”

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“I condemn the antisemitic protests. That’s why I have set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians,” he responded. 

Fox News’ Alexa Moutevelis and Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report. 



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