Feds charge Massachusetts man for calls threatening Jews with ‘genocide’


(JTA) — Federal agents arrested a man who allegedly called Jewish institutions in Massachusetts and threatened them with “genocide” because he believed they were supporting genocide of the Palestinians.

“Guess what? We are going to use your logic — if you can kill the Palestinians, we can kill you,” was one of a number of statements John Reardon, 59, allegedly left on a voicemail for Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro, Massachusetts on Jan. 25.

“If you can bomb their f**king places of worship we can bomb yours, if you can kill their children we can kill yours,” Reardon, of Millis, Massachusetts, allegedly said.

The allegations were detailed in a release posted Monday by the office of Joshua Levy, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts. Levy tied the alleged calls to reports of a massive spike in antisemitism and Islamophobia in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

“The allegations here about the series of threats Mr. Reardon made against the Jewish community are deeply disturbing and reflect the increasing torrent of antisemitism across our country and right here in Massachusetts,” Levy said in the release posted Monday, the same day Reardon appeared in court in Boston. “The numbers do not lie — incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia are spiking.”

Reardon allegedly promised to retaliate against Jews with genocide and to bomb places of worship.

“You do realize that by supporting genocide that means it’s ok for people to commit genocide against you,” was another of his alleged statements.

Reardon allegedly called one other synagogue and a Jewish-affiliated institution before he was arrested on Thursday. He was charged with “[u]sing a facility of interstate commerce to threaten a person or place with harm via an explosive.”

“No one should have to fear becoming the victim of physical violence at the hands of an angry stranger,” Jodi Cohen, and FBI agent, said in the release. “While the FBI does not and will not police ideology, we take all threats to life seriously, and so should anyone thinking about making one.””

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