The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday arrested a 28-year-old man from Mississippi on charges of antisemitic harassment and threats against synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses in the Philadelphia area.
According to the indictment filed against Donovan Parrish of Hattiesburg, he called at least three synagogues and three Jewish delis and vowed to put their owners in "labor camps." A synagogue he called also houses a kindergarten. The calls were made in April 2022 and May 2022 and were made up to 15 times a day.
In his threatening calls, Parrish repeatedly referred to the genocide of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party against some 6 million Jewish people in Europe. According to the indictment, "the defendant repeatedly referred to the genocide of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party of some six million Jews. He explicitly stated, among other things, "Heil Hitler," "All Jews must be burned," "All Jews must die," "We'll put you in labor camps," "Gas the Jews," and "Hitler had to finish the job." The indictment did not identify the businesses and synagogues targeted by the harassment.
Because a special jury determined that the alleged threats were motivated by the victims' religion, Parrish could face a harsh penalty for network surveillance and interstate communications of threats, an offense punishable by up to 50 years in prison and a $2.5 million fine if convicted.
Parrish was arrested Thursday morning by FBI agents in Mississippi and is expected to be extradited to Philadelphia in the coming weeks.
Last year, the Anti-Defamation League reported more than 3,600 reports of antisemitic intimidation in Philadelphia – a 36 % increase from the previous year. That number made 2022 the year with the highest number of antisemitic incidents since the organization began tracking them in 1979.