Because the world should know

Itay Barylka


Itay Barylka was arrested while harassing Jewish students. He has publicly condemned as “unconstitutional" the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bipartisan bill drafted in response to growing anti-Semitism in the United States.

Barylka is an organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and has attended multiple SJP-sponsored anti-Israel programs, including several “Israel Apartheid Week" events. Barylka has also promoted the #returnthebirthright initiative launched by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) organization against the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.

Barylka is a founder of the New York University (NYU) chapter of JVP (JVP NYU).
Barylka is also an activist in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement who has participated in numerous BDS events and promoted BDS through his involvement with JVP.

He is an activist with IfNotNow (INN), an organization that has demonized Israel and seeks to drive a wedge between American Jewry and Israel.

In September 2017, Barylka was reportedly a CAS [College of Arts & Science] sophomore at NYU and the host of “radio revolución," a student radio show.

As of August 2018, Barylka used the alias “Itay Naren" on Facebook.

Harassing Pro-Israel Jews

On May 11, 2018, Barylka was identified as the JVP member who reportedly burned an Israeli flag at a counter-demonstration to a pro-Israel celebration in Washington Square Park, on April 27, 2018.

Barylka was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. He was arraigned at the New York County Criminal Court.

During the same demonstration, an SJP member reportedly grabbed the arm of a female student who was singing the Israeli national anthem, along with dozens of other students. The SJP activist forcibly seized the woman’s microphone and began shouting, “Free Palestine, end the occupation."

The SJP activist was reportedly charged with disorderly conduct, robbery in the second degree, assault in the third degree and criminal mischief in the third degree.

On April 11, 2017, Barylka joined students who disrupted a Brand Israel conference at NYU, holding up signs reading “Israel’s Brand: Stolen Land" and “Brand Apartheid," while former Israeli ambassador Ido Aharoni spoke at the conference.

In an interview with Mondoweiss following the protest, Baylka said that “there’s apartheid in occupied Palestine." Barylka also accused Brand of Israel of building a “commodified national image that can integrate human rights violations and normalize them and make them part of the status quo."

Opposing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act

In December of 2016, Barylka protested the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act (AAA), which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate on December 1, 2016.

Barylka also signed a JVP-launched petition opposing the AAA. The AAA directed the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to use the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism when evaluating hostile environment complaints.

JVP’s petition asserted that anti-Semitism did not warrant its own bill, but should rather be considered equal to other forms of bigotry. The petition also purported that “real anti-Semitism" came from the “white supremacist movements in this country" and contended the bill did “little to protect us, as Jewish students, from these dangers."

The petition also claimed that BDS was “not inherently anti semitic," and called the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism “problematic."

Condemning Jewish Heritage Tour

On October 12, 2017, Barylka was featured in a series of photos on NYU JVP’s Facebook page, promoting JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign.

Barylka held a sign that read: “I #ReturnTheBirthright because I exist proudly in the diaspora."

The series of NYU JVP Facebook photos were also shared on the Return the Birthright Facebook page. The caption of the photos read, in part: “We refuse to be complicit in a propaganda trip that whitewashes the systemic racism and daily violence faced by Palestinians living under endless occupation."

On March 28, 2018, NYU JVP posted a video of a Return the Birthright rally featuring Barylka, who read prepared remarks off a cell phone and told the crowd [00:00:20]: “All Jews are handed this free trip and furthermore automatic citizenship" while “Palestinians are barred from returning to the homes and villages where their ancestors lived for centuries."

Return the Birthright Campaign

In September of 2017, JVP issued its #ReturntheBirthright campaign manifesto, calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Israel (Birthright) program. Birthright was founded by Jewish philanthropists “in 1999 to address the growing divide between young Diaspora Jewish adults and the land and people of Israel."

After decades of demographic decline in the American Jewish community, Birthright set out “to strengthen Jewish identity, build a lasting bond with the land and people of Israel, and reinforce the solidarity of Jewish people worldwide." The program offers “the gift of a life-changing, 10-day trip to Israel to young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 26."

JVP’s anti-Birthright campaign was launched precisely to coincide with “the very moment that college students across America are returning to campus and registration for Birthright winter visits are underway."

The #returnthebirthright manifesto accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing" and alleged “the modern state of Israel is predicated on the ongoing erasure of Palestinians."

The text claimed: “We reject the offer of a free trip to a state that does not represent us, a trip that is only ‘free’ because it has been paid for by the dispossession of Palestinians."

The manifesto concluded: “And as we reject this, we commit to promoting the right to return of Palestinian refugees… Israel is not our Birthright… Return the Birthright."

On June 22, 2017, just prior to the launch of JVP’s #returnthebirthright campaign, JVP received a $140,00 two-year grant for general support for its operations from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF).

Since 2015, JVP has received $280,000 from RBF, which has a history of supporting anti-Jewish causes, including BDS campaigns and various organizations that promote BDS campaigns throughout the United States.

Anti-Israel Campus Activism

In a September 12, 2017 interview with the Washington Square News, Barylka was quoted saying that SJP at NYU “support[s] the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement which is a nonviolent movement to use economic, cultural and academic pressure to force the government of Israel to change its apartheid policies."

The article also said that Barylka hoped to recruit more students to join SJP, and that the group “hopes to make a serious effort at a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign this year."

During the week of March 20-March 24, 2017, Barylka attended events associated with NYU SJP Presents: Israeli Apartheid Week 2017. Events during this week included protesting Israeli musician Idan Raichel's appearance at NYU, a panel discussion on “Palestine organizing" and a silent protest.

On April 25, 2017, Barylka indicated on Facebook that he “went" to an event titled, “Omar Barghouti & Nyle Fort: Freedom Fighting & State Repression," featuring Omar Barghouti, the founder of BDS.

Barghouti has rejected the existence of Israel and has claimed that international law grants everyone with Palestinian ancestry the unqualified right to settle in Israel.

Barghouti has also stated that the demands of BDS are “inflexible" and “non-negotiable" — and if people object, then “tough."


JVP was founded in Berkeley, California in 1996, as an activist group with an emphasis on the "Jewish tradition" of peace, social justice and human rights. The organization is currently led by Rebecca Vilkomerson and its board members include controversial Israel critics Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and Tony Kushner.

JVP, which generally employs civil disobedience tactics like disrupting pro-Israel speakers and events, consists of American Jews and non-Jewish "allies" highly critical of Israeli policies. A staunch supporter of the BDS movement, JVP claims to aim its campaigns at companies that either support the Israeli military (Hewlett-Packard) or are active in the West Bank (SodaStream).

Although several Jewish groups critical of Israeli policies, like J Street and Partners for a Progressive Israel, make efforts to operate within the mainstream American Jewish community, JVP functions outside. The group is often criticized for serving as a tokenized Jewish voice for the pro-Palestinian camp and is widely regarded as the BDS movement's "Jewish wing."

JVP denies the notion of "Jewish peoplehood" and has even gone so far as to refer to its own Ashkenazi (Jews who spent the Diaspora in European countries) leadership as supreme inside of JVP."

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has accused JVP of being "the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States," and said the group "exploits Jewish culture and rituals to reassure its own supporters that opposition to Israel not only does not contradict, but is actually consistent with, Jewish values... JVP consistently co-sponsors rallies to oppose Israeli military policy that are marked by signs and slogans comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, demonizing Jews and voicing support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah."

According to the ADL website, JVP "uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide it with a greater degree of legitimacy and credibility."


SJP was co-founded in 2001 at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) by Professors Hatem Bazian and Snehal Shingavi. Bazian served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) while studying at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and headed the Muslim Students Association (MSA) while earning his M.A. at UC Berkeley. In 2004, while the second intifada was already winding down in Israel, he called for an intifada in the United States.

Shingavi, an activist tied to the International Socialist Organization (ISO), has been criticized for using his literature course as a vehicle for promoting anti-Israel propaganda. SJP has grown to become the primary student movement advancing the Palestinian national agenda on North American campuses and is the primary force behind BDS campaigns at most schools.

SJP activists frequently intimidate and harass Jewish and pro-Israel students. SJP members have physically assaulted Jewish students, aggressively disrupted pro-Israel events and possibly vandalized communal property. SJP rallies regularly include hate-speech and chants such as "Long Live The Intifada" and "From the River to the Sea Palestine will be Free" — calls for violence and for the destruction of the Jewish state.

SJP chapters frequently run inflammatory campaigns against Israel, including BDS resolutions, rallies, Israel-Apartheid initiatives, propaganda comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, mock checkpoints and "die-ins."

SJP chapters regularly host speakers who use language considered anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department and individuals linked to terrorist activity.


The BDS movement was founded in 2005 by Omar Barghouti and asserts that it "works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law."

BDS initiatives include compelling institutions and individuals to divest from Israeli-affiliated companies, academic boycotts, anti-Israel rallies and protests.

The movement's most notable achievement has been the infiltration of university campuses through lobbying for "BDS resolutions." In these cases, backed by university anti-Israel affiliates, student governments have brought to vote on some form of boycott of — or divestment from — Israel and Israeli-affiliated entities. These resolutions, although non-binding, have been passed by student governments on numerous North American campuses.

BDS activity is often aggressive and disruptive. It has been noted that universities that pass BDS resolutions see a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus. In 2013, when the student government of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) debated a BDS resolution, reports emerged of violent threats and the spitting on a student wearing a Star of David necklace. As a result, the student government chose to vote via a "secret ballot" in order to ensure its members' safety.

Social Media and Web Links

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Photos & Screenshots

Infamous Quotes

“We support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement which is a nonviolent movement to use economic, cultural and academic pressure to force the government of Israel to change its apartheid policies.”