Iowa Man Arrested for Hate Speech, Threats Against Manhattan-Based Jewish Organization

A 31-year-old man from Iowa was arrested and charged Tuesday for allegedly making repeated hateful phone and email threats against a Manhattan-based Jewish organization.

The victim organization was not named in the criminal complaint but investigators say Garrett Kelsey of Cedar Rapids called the organization on May 23, spoke with an employee and identified himself as "Garrett Odinschild." He later called back and left a threatening voicemail against all Jewish people.

Kelsey also emailed the organization and demand the removal of a video on Nordic Neo-Nazis, as well as an apology to the "Asatru community." The Asatru is a neo-religious movement aimed at reviving Norse religious beliefs, which as also been linked to anti-Semitic and other racist groups, including those who marched in Charlottesville in 2017, according to the FBI's complaint.

The Nordic Neo-Nazi movement has been terrorizing minority communities across Sweden and Scandinavia, according to a video uploaded to YouTube by the World Jewish Congress, an international organization based in Manhattan.

Kelsey also sent a threatening message on Facebook to an "Iowa Antifa" page, the complaint said. His Facebook page was littered with anti-Semitic messages, including a photo of Jewish residents of a ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, lined up facing a wall with their hands up, officials said.

He was charged with one count of interstate transmission of threats to injure a person, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

The arrest comes as reports of anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish people spiked across the world. In May, researchers reported the largest number of Jews killed in anti-Semitic acts in decades, leading to an "increasing sense of emergency" among Jewish communities worldwide.

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