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Man sentenced to 6 months in prison for threatening World Jewish Congress in wake of Hamas attack

todayMarch 14, 2024


J. David Ake/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — A Florida man was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday for leaving a threatening voicemail with the World Jewish Congress in New York City two weeks after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the Justice Department announced.

“If I had a chance I would kill every single one of you Israelis,” Deep Patel said in a voicemail left with the World Jewish Congress on Oct. 21. “Cause mass genocide of every single Israeli.”

Minutes after that call, the 21-year-old Patel also called a synagogue in Temple Terrace, Florida, and left another voicemail with hate-fueled, antisemitic comments.

When he was interviewed by federal agents about the calls, Patel “explained that he had called Jewish centers to express his family’s anger with Israel for the genocide of the Palestinian people, and that although he did not intend to scare or threaten anyone, he wanted to use the harshest language possible to convey his anger,” prosecutors said.

While soon after his arrest Patel accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty, prosecutors had sought one year in prison for him citing the need for deterrence amid a broader uptick in threats in the wake of Oct. 7.

“It is widely known that since October 7, 2023, there has been a significant increase in threats received by Jewish and Palestinian persons residing in the United States,” prosecutors said.

They further noted how after Temple Terrace reported Patel’s threat to the FBI, they saw a decrease in attendance at services after the community became aware of his voicemail.

“That chilling effect on religious exercise underscores the need for the defendant’s sentence to send a message to the public — especially aspiring copycats — that this conduct is not taken lightly,” prosecutors said.

The World Jewish Congress also said in a victim impact letter that they too were “deeply upset and frightened” by Patel’s threat, and noted how more recently their offices were targeted in a map of Jewish facilities in New York disseminated by the pro-Palestinian organization Within Our Lifetime.

“The Jewish community and all communities have the right to live in safety and security, without the threat of violence and intimidation that we are witnessing more and more,” the World Jewish Congress said. “This antisemitic threat left us horrified and profoundly shaken.”

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