White House Condemns Columbia University Student Leader for Antisemitic Remarks

White House condemns antisemitic remarks by Columbia student protest leader; university bans him, sparking debate over campus protests and antisemitism.

Bijay Laxmi
New Update
White House Condemns Columbia University Student Leader for Antisemitic Remarks

White House Condemns Columbia University Student Leader for Antisemitic Remarks

The White House has strongly condemned antisemitic remarks made by Khymani James, a student protest leader of pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University. In a video from January, James said "Zionists don't deserve to live" and that people should "be grateful that I'm not just going out and murdering Zionists." The White House called these "dangerous, appalling statements" that "turn the stomach" and said they have "no place in America whatsoever."

As a result of his remarks, James has been banned from campus. The university spokesperson stated that "calls of violence and statements targeted at individuals based on their religious, ethnic, or national identity are unacceptable and violate university policy." James later apologized for his words, acknowledging that his comments were "wrong" and that "every member of our community deserves to feel safe without qualification."

The controversy has added an additional layer of scrutiny to the ongoing protests at Columbia University, which have drawn significant media and political attention. The protests have raised concerns about antisemitism, with Jewish students reporting acts of hate, intimidation, and harassment. The university's handling of the protests has also garnered criticism from both pro-Palestinian supporters and members of the Jewish community.

Why this matters: The White House's condemnation of James' remarks highlights the growing concern over antisemitism on college campuses across the nation. President Biden has spoken out against the "alarming surge of antisemitism" in the U.S. following pro-Palestinian protests at colleges.

The American Civil Liberties Union has urged universities to make space for student speech and protest, while also warning that violence is never an acceptable protest tactic. Human Rights Watch has cautioned universities against mislabeling criticism of Israeli government policies or advocacy for Palestinian rights as inherently antisemitic or using their authority to quash peaceful protest. Columbia University plans to hold a press briefing to address the ongoing campus situation.

Key Takeaways

  • White House condemned antisemitic remarks by Columbia student Khymani James.
  • James banned from campus for saying "Zionists don't deserve to live".
  • Controversy highlights concerns over antisemitism in pro-Palestinian campus protests.
  • Biden warns of "alarming surge of antisemitism" following campus protests.
  • Columbia to hold press briefing addressing ongoing campus situation.