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52 Responses

  1. Dr. E says:

    The Chillul Hashem here is immense and this would literally qualify as “Sonei Yisrael”.
     Not so long ago, the Chareidi world marginalized the antics of the Neturei Karta as fringe, crazies, etc.  Well, this dog-and-pony show demonstrates that Satmar is a bunch of lunatics.  Let’s see if the Chareidi world now has the courage to now call a spade a space and stand up against Satmar.  Somehow, I doubt that will happen.  With all of the anti-Medina and IDF venom currently being spewed by the extreme Litvish elements in Israel, what was once considered beyond the pale is now very much within it.

    • Dr. E says:

      The indoctrination of youth in this anti-Israel charade unfortunately shows that Satmar is indeed quite connected to the outside world and following a quite familiar script. Someone within their fold must have snuck in an iPhone or the Internet.

  2. Akiva says:

    What does this have to do with Neturei Karta? Satmar protesting the State of Israel is nothing new, especially when it’s concerning what they feel are attacks on religion and forcing the draft of religious people into the army. Neturei Karta has a very different “approach” of working with the enemy, and almost celebrating the murder of their fellow Jews, which is completely off the wall and destructive. Please explain what you’re getting at here.

    • The issue is whose activities threaten the lives of others. I couldn’t care less about intent. The issue is responsibility. Satmar has become, through public protest, as destructive as NK. More so, because they are not seen to be as crazy and marginal

      • Akiva says:

        Look. I’m not comfortable with what they’re doing either. I’m embarrassed, but only because I don’t think the onlookers understand their position and therefore view their protest as just awkward. But what’s the evidence that they’ve become destructive?

      • The evidence is plentiful. Read (as I do) the output of the BDS people, the JVP people. To show that they are not anti-Semitic, and to demonstrate that Americans – davka including American Jews – are “coming around” to discover the sordid truth about the colonialist Zionist state, they pound away at the audience with evidence that “many” Jews now see the truth about the illegitimacy of the Jewish State.

  3. joel rich says:

    Was there any explanation of the symbolism of placing an American flag on the shtender?

    Joel Rich

  4. A says:

    Is the picture of the flag burning from the Satmar rally you linked to? While hard to defend either, there is a difference between a protest and a flag burning.

    • True. A public protest near the UN while Israel’s Prime Minister is speaking is far, far worse.

      • A says:

        They feel very strongly that Netanyahu does not represent them. They want people to know.  What would you recommend other than highly visible peaceful protests?

        i understand that neither of us agree with them, but that is neither here nor there.

      • They are free to voice their opinion wherever they want – as long as it doesn’t endanger the rest of us. In a world that has begun to drown in a wave of anti-Semitism, that means anyplace out of earshot of the non-Jewish world. Israel fights for its survival on two fronts: military, and global opinion. Bederech hateva, a defeat in either could mean the destruction of the largest community of Jews in the world – and probably a good deal many more elsewhere, according to some scenarios. This is so elementary, that it hurts to have to make it explicit.

  5. mb says:

    And people still want to believe the stupid myth that the Satmar Rebbe defended Israel and Zionists

    • A) It’s not a myth. I personally heard it from someone who was in the room
      B) If you speak to many within Satmar, the first thing out of their mouths is “The Rov would never have allowed this.”

      The Satmar Rov, Z”L was controversial. There should be no controversy among us about these folks.

      • mb says:

        I think that “witness” may not have been there. Check the dates and age. Also there has been several such apologetic stories.

      • They match. He’s older than me

      • mb says:

        So am I. Respect your elders!

        You want it to be true.

        The “witness” was way too young to have been in such an intimate meeting, even if he worked on the election programme. There are other “witnesses” that deny this happened. They are Satmar.. There are 2 types of memory. One you remember events, the other is that you remember what you were told about events and transplant yourself into the event.

      • Why don’t you call him and ask him?

      • mycroft says:

        A major issue-was the Satmar Rav ever quoted saying that bechayav in a public document-eg Satmar official publications or in Newspapers that are close to the Satmar hanhalla.

      • a says:

        see page 497-498 in “The Prime Ministers” by Yehyda Avner

      • “a” has a point. Or two. Readers should go to the source and digest those two moving pages. (I will still wonder whether they would have allowed the demonstration on a weekday, when it would play before a much wider audience.)

        We need more people willing to say that, despite the fact that Menachem Begin was not fully observant, they much prefer his partial package of mitzvos to that of Satmar leadership.

  6. Shaya R says:

    From an outsider’s perspective, a ralley like this doesn’t seem much different than the rally the litvish world held a few years back in lower Manhattan to protest the draft.

  7. Another musing says:

    This is their mesorah

    You might not like it, and it’s within your rights to disagree, but it is the height of hubris to lecture a community which includes dayanaim, Zekeinim in and talmeidei chachamim who were the closest  talmidim of their rebbe R Yoel on what he would do or what he believed. You may have a reason to differentiate between these and other UN protests that were done by R Yoel himself-but tens and hundreds of talmediei chachamim  who were שותה בצמה את דבריו, discussed these ענינים with him and have spent countless hours studying his works definitely have a right to disagree with you without being written off as totally not following in their rebbes derech and being beyond the pale.


    Again-you might not like it but this can very possibly be in the derech of their rebbeDont try to marginalize them by stating as a fact that it’s not.

    • Shelley Schwarzbaum says:

      It may or not be their Rebbe’s derech..I don’t really care…but it is definitely beyond the pale.

  8. lacosta says:

    Any haimish group this big gets a free pass based just on their garb.  Lets be honest isnt this the mainstream hassidic position across the board?  They have the   Cojones to do what tens of thousands are thinking….

    for the haredi mainstream, since this is a minor point theologically, focus on the big picture-   OO, yct , lady O rabbis….

    Worst case scenario, there are only seven million jews in the zionist entity….



  9. Wolfman says:

    The background in the flag-burning photo does not look like Manhattan. I doubt the photo is from the rally. I am not a Satmar Chasid but in all fairness, this rally appears to be an anti-draft rally as opposed to a general anti-State of Israel rally. There is a difference. Reasonable folks can debate the draft without yelling, “Chilul Hashem”. Personally, these rallies make me squeamish but that’s a far cry from Chilul Hashem.

  10. dr. bill says:

    A number of years back the zalmanites cancelled a demonstration while the aaronites went ahead despite circumstances and now this from the so-called more reasonable group.

    they do not surprise me.  those who expect the RCA to discipline YCT, ought expect the agudah to do the same.  sadly, quite the opposite has occurred.

    I just returned from shabbos in Montreal, where a right leaning Rabbi (semicha from Ner Israel), leading a left-leaning Modern orthodox synagogue, were joined for shabbos and the first night of Selichos by number of (unpaid) Belzer chassidim who lead various tefillot in a show of unity that has become increasingly rare.

    this did not surprise me. about a decade ago the current belzer rebbe asked to meet with someone his advisors told him would give him an accurate report about the Rav ztl’s view about an issue that arose in the 70’s.  the rebbe was also the only chareidi leader to attend the levaya after the of talmidim at merkaz harav.

    but when measured in toto, we are separating at an alarming rate.  the recent giur incident brings that issue into even more dramatic focus.

    while i applaud rabbi adlerstein, i am awaiting public statements by various groups/individuals on a number of these issues.



  11. Dovid K. says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein – your comments have helped me “draw my own conclusions”, now some guidance on “what to do about it” would be appreciated.

    • Frankly, I was looking for guidance from the readers!

      Here’s the best I can do:

      1) A few things NOT to do: Don’t lump all Satmar chassidim together. It is a large community, and people have different opinions. I’ve heard enough myself. It is also a community in transition. Lots of people moving to the margins. We would like to bring them around to thinking the way most of Klal Yisrael thinks, but by persuasion. Lashing out at them is not going to help. Similarly, boycotting their mosdos – especially the ones that help everyone, like Bikur Cholim – would be evil
      2) The issue is leadership. Develop a strong enough backbone and hashkafic base to be able to say, “תורתם במקומם מונח. Talmidei chachamim can be wrong. They are wrong. No, I didn’t say that I have a different opinion. I said they are wrong. Their thinking does not comport with what I have been taught about Yiddishkeit.”

      • lacosta says:

        >>>>>boycotting their mosdos – especially the ones that help everyone, like Bikur Cholim – would be evil

        —-   in other words, the only thing that might work,  hitting people where they eat, is assur … the only other thing — shunning by gdolim—cannot happen , because they wear the chitzonius of koshervyosher

        so why bother even bringing up the subject if nothing that might work could be done?



      • dr. bill says:

        even if i were to agree that “Lashing out at them is not going to help.” something i do not believe, treating them as some now do has to stop.  Not lashing out and condemning is one thing, honoring is something different.   btw, the danger of not lashing out is that those who lash out and condemn only X but not Y, will be viewed (legitimately) in that light.  IMHO, the leaders of the chareidi world have an even  more consequential issue to deal with than this occurrence.

      • Dr. E says:

        There was a rather charming professional collector who came through our shul last week literally wearing a sign that read “Satmar Bikur Cholim: Enough Said” together with a credit card reader attached to his smartphone and also wearing a tallis bag “pouch” for cash donations.  I would guess that the famous Bikur Cholim is a fairly autonomous entity that runs without any administrative connection to either one of the two Satmar camps.  Regardless, one can no longer claim that the chessed performed by Bikur Cholim volunteers or the piety of the Satmar Rebbe zt”l demonstrates a norm that would render the recent displays of hatred as an “exception” or outlier.

  12. Natan Thaler says:

    Unfortunately, Satmar seems to see itself as cut off from the rest of us. This became most apparent before the historic asifa against the dangers of the internet. Everyone who self-identified as chareidi went or sent a delegation, except half of  Satmar. They seemed to feel that a general issue for Klal Yisroel did not affect them. I fear that as a consequence of having their own “Shittah” that sets them apart from the rest of us they have lost touch with the world outside their little corner and don’t stop to consider how their actions affect others.

    • dr. bill says:

      i think the aaronites did not attend the asifa, while the zalminites who i believe joined the asifa staged this event.  they may have what you call a “Shittah” but i like you put in quotation marks.

  13. Reader says:

    While important points are made in the article, with all due respect, the flag burning photo accompanying the C-C post (which does not appear as part of the Matzav report) is clearly not from the same event and group. If you look in the background of the flag burning  photo, there is a banner mentioning (kinnus?) Lag Ba’omer, which was months ago, dating it to then.

    I don’t share the great surprise and shock of R. Adlerstein, although I do share concern. Satmar has been doing things like this for decades. Perhaps, when he migrated to CA, R. Adlerstein lost touch with Satmar activities for a while.

    The reports and photos linked to perform a valuable service though, because they remind people who were engaging in wishful thinking and imagining  that they were not much different from, and perhaps even allies of Satmar, and similar groups (particularly people somehow related to the Yeshivishe velt), that there is (still) an enormous chasm between those groups and them – not only vis a vis attitudes re medinas Yisroel, and Eretz Yisroel, but with regard to other matters as well. And that it is time to stop fantasizing that such great gaps don’t exist, that Satmar and Lakewood are on the same page, etc., when factually Rav Aharon Kotler clashed with, and campaigned against the Satmar Rebbe years ago. Rav Aharon campaigned in Eretz Yisroel for people to vote for Agudah, while the Satmar Rebbe campaigned for people to not vote at all.

    • Quite correct. The picture had nothing to do with this group. It wasn’t meant to imply that they were the same. Our new software demands a picture for every posting. That sends us authors scrambling to Google to find some sort of related image that might be good bait.

      As far as the distance between Rav Aharon and the SR, that may have been true then. Not so sure it is true today, from recent news stories

    • mordy rakover says:

      the brisker rav is reputed o have said when RAK and satmar rav came to israel during election season “voting is not such a mitzva that RAK had to come nor is it such an aveira that SR had to come

      i dont remember who it was that said in reply to the claim that voting in knesset elections is a mitzva like eating matzah  “no ! like eating maror”/

  14. Ralph Kostant says:

    One should not expect Satmar to be supportive of Israel, but one would hope that their rabbaim would display more caution about lending support through their public protests to those who want to spill Jewish blood. In other settings and contexts, Satmar displays tremendous hasidut and ahavat yisrael.  It is too bad that piety and Torah observance do not always insure sechel.

  15. Charles Hall says:

    I have seen videos of pro-BDS demonstrations at numerous college campuses that are notorious for their anti-Israel propaganda.

    Most of them are just a handful of people with more gawkers than protesters. And not even the largest come close to the size of this one.

    Were there any BDS protesters at all outside the UN when PM Netanyahu was speaking?

  16. Mark says:

    This rally is stupid. But there is still a huge difference between Satmar protesting Israel’s treatment of Charedim (which is of zero interest to anyone at the UN) and NK protesting Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, no?

    • There is a difference in intent. There may be no difference in effect. Haters of Israel use every Jewish voice that rejects it to their advantage. Satmar was not aiming to change the attitudes of the shilton hakofrim. If they were, they would be demonstrating in front of Knesset. They protested in front of the UN, on a day that would maximize exposure to the American people. They should be rejected and shunned for that. I don’t care what their intent was. The Gemara says that in regard to Chilul Hashem, both the shogeg and the meizid are implicated

      • Mark says:

        If the issue is Chillul Hashem,  I don’t see it vis-a-vis haters of Israel. I think Satmar could make a case that the bigger Chillul Hashem is the perception of acceptance by frum Jews of a Jewish country recruiting Jews to what they perceive as an army of Shmad, and the protest is a Kiddush Hashem. I think their assessment of the situation and their response to it is misguided, but it’s not black-and-white.

        I thought the issue was the endangerment of the people in Israel. I don’t see this protest causing Israel to lose anywhere near the amount of PR points that are lost from bearded Jews protesting mistreatment of Palestinians and visiting homes of terrorists.

  17. TZ says:

    These people and their ilk are the first people calling the IDF when their lives are endangered by the IDF. In Israel, we see this all the time – the city of Beitar is a great example. Join the army? HAS V’SHALOM. Arab barbarians at the gates of Beiter? “Where’s the IDF? Why aren’t they providing more manpower? It must be because they hate the Torah.

  18. DF says:

    A  “response” should begin with a public rebuke by the Agudah (the only organization of semi-importance to Satmar) but to do that, there must first be a painful re-assessment of rabbinic leadership. We, as a community, have always had a problem with rabbinic hero-worship. Yes, this carries many positives, but it is also a heavy albatross around the neck that other religious communities have had more success in modifying.  Our  respect for rabbis sometimes prevents us from seeing, much less criticizing, charismatic rebbehs and rosh yeshivahs.

    Who was the Satmar Rebbeh, really? [Disclosure – I say this as someone with much family in W-burg, whose grandmother is buried in Monroe, and who has a brother named Yoel.] Was he a Gaon and a great Manhig? Obviously yes. But did he also lead thousands of ignorant innocents down a path towards communities built on fear, corruption, and intimidation? Should he not have realized how his “sitra achra” approach to Israel would be perverted? That answer, as painful as it is to say it, is also yes. And leaders must be held accountable for their actions.

    It isn’t just Satmar. Figures like R. Aharon Kotler and Chazon Ish have been turned into almost mythological figures by the litvish charedi community. But was it not foreseeable that promoting the “only torah” concept – which the Gemara itself observed is not feasible in practice – would lead to widespread poverty and Chillul Hashem? Are not we told in Pirkei Avos to foresee the consequences of our actions? But that’s for another time. The question of the day is Satmar, and if there is to be any type of response at all, it begins with a paradigm shift in how we relate to the Rebbe and what he created.

    • dr. bill says:

      i would add the Rav ztl and RMMS ztl to the three you mentioned.  in every case their positions have been distorted by some/many claiming their mantle.  in some cases, ironically wrt the two chassidic rebbes imho, they may well be to blame for the exaggerations of their positions that have followed.  i do not believe that applies to the three litvishe giants; there are numerous cases where they did things that would be unimaginable to many of their followers.

    • Natan Thaler says:

      At the  second-to-last Tikva conference, Rabbi Aharon Kotler, grandson of the RAK and Executive Director or Something-like-that of BMG, said that “Anyone who says my grandfather told people to sit and learn their whole lives wasn’t there. He would tell people after five or ten years to get a shtellar/job.” Many people in Lakewood would contest that interpretation, but there you go.

      As to the Chazon Ish, I am not aware that he pushed the masses to learn and never get a job. He just fought to make it an option to learn at a time when many people thought serious Torah learning was over. (The same could be said for Rav Aharon Kotler.) He also fought hard for the ideological purity of Torah to not be affected by Zionism and secularism but that is not the same thing as saying “Nobody work.”

      • DF says:

        That’s historical revisionism, but its irrelevant. Leaders are judged by results. Makes no difference whatsoever what they say or didn’t say. The poverty and the scams of Lakewood and Bnei Brak, leave aside the gross materialism, were eminently foreseeable results. Even if leaders didn’t or couldn’t foresee it, one must be aware of unintended consequences.

  19. Steve brizel says:

    During the Vietnam war the American flag was burned and acts of terror were committed by many who went underground or left the US. If NK and or Satmar are so disturbed and distraught over the State of Israel why shouldn’t NK and Satmar simply studiously propagate their POV and avoide instances of Chillul HaShem?

    • mycroft says:

      Their actions at least raise the question that although they may keep most sections of SA their actions show that they are not concerned about the vast majority of Klal Israel

  20. leah yordis says:

    What to do – send an immediate letter to every Satmar institution you can find – Bais Ruchel, Bikur Cholim etc. – and the Rebbe… write that you are ashamed to have seen photos of a massive chillul Hashem perpetrated by religious Jews. Say that you hope they will do a mass tshuva/tehillim rally and issue a public apology. Sign your Jewish name in Hebrew (so and so ben so and so). And let them drown in thousands of letters. Paste up similar notices all over Williamsburg.

  21. dr. bill says:

    if you visit yeshiva world news today, 9/30, you will see the rabbi of satmar, accompanied by two members of the moetzet, rabbis kaminetsky and kotler, arriving by private jet to raise funds for a charity.  looking carefully at the pictures you will notice how two of the rabbis alternate the center seat.  i guess they do not share rabbi adlerstein’s sensitivities.

  22. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi Shafran’s piece reminded me of a story told to me by an ehrliche yid who taught limudei chol at a satmar cheder, close to fifty years ago.  a youngster corrected him when said a particular goy haut geshtorben. Unlike the afro-american begger, the youngster already knew better and told the teacher that “a yid shtarbt, a goy peigert.”

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