‘Zionists Don’t Deserve To Live’: Meet The Leader Of Columbia University’s Anti-Israel Encampment

Columbia student Khymani James: "Be grateful that I'm not just going out and murdering Zionists."
(Photo by Fatih Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images and Instagram)

One of the most vocal student activists leading the anti-Israel Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia University, Khymani James, openly stated in a live-stream of an official university inquiry in January that “Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

James, who states in the hearing that he goes by “he/she/they” pronouns, live-streamed his meeting with Columbia’s Center for Student Success and Intervention, where he doubled down on an Instagram post that sparked the report. In the report, which he reads aloud at the start of the meeting, James warned Zionists who may want to “meet up and fight” and that he “fights to kill.”

“Do you see why that’s problematic in any way?” a Columbia employee asked James during the hearing, to which he responded: “No.”

James, a junior and spokesperson of the Columbia University Apartheid Divest group, has been the visible face of the protests that have garnered national attention. He appears to still be a student at the university, and has been one of the key organizers of the encampment. He was one of the students who held a press conference on Wednesday, where he claimed that the school conceded it would not call law enforcement on the encampment.

In the video James posted to social media of his January interaction with school officials, he defends his belief that all Zionists deserve to die.

“I feel very comfortable, very comfortable, calling for those people to die,” James says. “And with that being said, Khymani is signed out.”

In another post on his public social media profile, James stated that he “carry that tool” and that he is “moving like I’m in an open carry state.”

Khymani James attended a meeting with Columbia University over a post he made to social media saying he “fights to kill.” (Instagram)

When asked about the seriousness of taking someone’s life, James said that sometimes it is necessary to murder people.


“I think that taking someone’s life in certain case scenarios is necessary and better for the overall world. I personally have never killed anyone,” he said. “Thank the Lord that no one has put me in that position.”

He compared the need to kill Zionists to killing Hitler or Haitian revolutionaries who had to “kill their masters in order to gain their independence.”

“These were masters who were white supremacists. What is a Zionist? A white supremacist. So let’s be very clear here, I’m not saying that I’m going to go out and start killing Zionists. What I am saying is that if an individual who identifies as a Zionist threatens my physical safety in person, i.e., puts their hands on me, I am going to defend myself and in that case scenario, it may come to a point where I don’t know when to stop.”

“I understand what you are saying,” the Columbia employee responds. “What resources do you think you have to make sure that you feel protected as a student here?”

“My hands and my brains are my resources,” James responded, before going on to call the meeting “institutional violence.”

James went on to say that “there should not be Zionists anywhere.”

“People who hold those types of ideologies, the world is better without them. That is what my comment is indicative of, and I will stand with that,” he said.

During a break in the meeting, James looked at his camera and called the meeting “a joke.”

“They definitely were hoping that I was going to walk back the ‘I fight to kill,’” he said, cackling. James said he does “fight to kill” and that is why no one has fought him since middle school.

When the employees returned from the break, they told him he would hear from their office again. It’s unclear what the result of the proceeding was. After publication of this story, a Columbia University spokesman indicated that there may have been “disciplinary measures” for his conduct.

“While we do not comment on individual cases, when there are violations of student conduct policies, they are reviewed and disciplinary measures are applied,” the spokesman said.

James did not respond to a request for comment.

Pro-Palestinian student protesters, including Khymani James, host a press conference on the eighth day of the ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment’ at Columbia University in New York, United States on April 24, 2024. (Photo by Fatih Aktas/Anadolu via Getty Images)

James continued to rant on his livestream after the meeting concluded and made some of his most unhinged statements.

“Zionists don’t deserve to live comfortably, let alone Zionists don’t deserve to live,” he said. “The same way we are very comfortable accepting Nazis don’t deserve to live, fascists don’t deserve to live, racists don’t deserve to live, Zionists, they shouldn’t live in this world.”

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

James said he welcomed getting kicked out of Columbia because he wants to travel to South America and “live my best life.”

He also contemplated what would happen if the United States supported the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“His death would theoretically mean that many people would live,” James states. “And so murder can absolutely be justified.”

On the day after Hamas’ massacre of more than 1,000 Israelis, James began his anti-Israel activism on X, declaring “Free Palestine” while terrorists were still in civilian communities in southern Israel.

On November 10, 2023, James posted his opposition to any two-state solution.

“There is no ‘two-state solution,'” he said. “Palestinians need all their land back, full stop.”

James accused Israel of not caring about Jews in a December 2023 post with a screenshot of a New York Times article claiming the government dismissed intelligence about the Hamas attack before it happened.

“I knew this was gonna come out sooner or later — I quite literally called it a month ago,” James said. “This should tell you that Israel doesn’t really care about its citizens or Jewish people. They just want any reason at all to speed up its genocide of Palestinians. Sickening.”

“It’s giving, ‘We’re gonna let Hamas attack and kill/capture our citizens so that we can finally start killing Palestinians in large numbers again, and the international community will have no choice but to support us,’” he wrote in a follow-up post.

Khymani James became active in anti-Israel activism on X last year, following Hamas’s terrorist attack on civilians in Israel.

James has also posted frequently about being present in the Gaza encampment, including writing “f*** that dumb a** graduation” in a post about Columbia trying to clear the area to set up for the upcoming graduation ceremony.

“[T]hat graduation next month is NOT happening as planned,” he said in another post.

Khymani James posted “f*** that dumb a*** graduation” in response to Columbia University wanting the anti-Israel encampment to disband before graduation.

On Monday, James said that Zionists “tricked the world this much into believing zionism = Judaism and anti-zionism = antisemitism.”

James also went viral earlier this week for leading a human chain of protesters to push pro-Israel students out of the encampment.

“One step forward,” James was seen shouting before the crowd repeated after him in unison and stepped forward.

In 2021, the Boston Globe wrote a glowing article about James and his “confrontational approach.” It said that James was a high school student at the prestigious Boston Latin Academy, and a student member of the Boston Public Schools committee before resigning because the adult members were “racist and adultist.”

Just a few months later, he called into a school committee meeting and stated, “I, too, hate white people,” while defending two members accused of anti-white racism.

This piece has been updated with comment from Columbia University.

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