A Columbia University student who has spoken on behalf of pro-Palestinian Arab protesters has apologized for saying on video that "Zionists don’t deserve to live", CNN reported on Friday.

Khymani James, a student activist associated with the Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) coalition, acknowledged the statement in a post on X, saying it was from an Instagram Live video in January. “I misspoke in the heat of the moment, for which I apologize."

The apology came early Friday morning, hours after an interview with CNN at Columbia where James repeatedly declined to apologize for the video, saying that the focus should be on “Palestinian liberation”.

The video of the comments, which was posted by a pro-Israel group, circulated on social media in recent days, prompting online outrage.

The portion of the video that has been reposted online shows James saying, “Zionists – they don’t deserve to live comfortably, let alone Zionists don’t deserve to live. The same way we’re very comfortable accepting that Nazis don’t deserve to live, racists don’t deserve to live – Zionists, they shouldn’t live in this world.”

In the statement which included the apology, James says, “Far-right agitators went through months of my social media feed until they found a clip that they edited without context,” but added that CUAD and the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, another group of protesters at Columbia, "have made clear that my words in January, prior to my involvement with CUAD, are not in line with the CUAD community guidelines."

Columbia University has seen an uptick in pro-Palestinian Arab protests in recent days.

The latest protests at Columbia began last Wednesday, when anti-Israel protesters set up a tent city on the campus grounds.

Last Thursday, more than 100 people were arrested by New York Police Department officers on a preliminary charge of criminal trespass, as police entered Columbia University to disperse a the pro-Palestinian Arab protest, but it has since continued and grown more explicitly antisemitic.

On Saturday night, the Chabad rabbi of Columbia University and a group of Jewish students were forced to leave the university campus for their own safety during a pro-Hamas demonstration.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)