Hattiesburg man arrested for antisemitic threats to Pennsylvania institutions

Graphic from the Anti-Defamation League’s 2022 audit of antisemitic incidents

A Hattiesburg man was arrested and has been indicted for threatening synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses in eastern Pennsylvania.

Donavon Parish, in a 2022 Forrest County mugshot.

Donavon Parish, 28, was arrested by FBI agents in Mississippi on July 13 after an investigation by the FBI. He is expected to be extradited to Philadelphia soon, and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the United States Department of Justice’s National Security Division (Counterterrorism Section), with assistance from the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The federal grand jury made a special finding that the defendant targeted his victims based on their actual and perceived religion. The indictment was handed down on June 27.

According to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the indictment alleges that in April and May 2022, Parish used Voice over Internet services to make a series of calls. “In these calls, the defendant allegedly spoke to individuals answering the telephone calls on behalf of their respective institutions, at which time he repeatedly referenced the genocide of approximately six million Jewish people during the Holocaust, stating, among other things, ‘Heil Hitler,’ ‘all Jews must die,’ ‘we will put you in work camps,’ ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Hitler should have finished the job’.”

He apparently called one business 15 times, and called a synagogue that also has a preschool and kindergarten at least twice. The business and synagogue were not identified.

The Anti-Defamation League’s HEAT Map lists threats to synagogues in Philadelphia and Broomall around that time, using similar phrases.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $2,500,000 fine, and a $1,000 special assessment.

In May 2022, the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office arrested Donavon for making “abusive calls” to the 911 emergency service. He had a similar charge in October 2021.