The Rebbe of the Satmar Hassidic movement, Grand Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, spoke out Saturday night against Jews who oppose U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Rebbe, who lives in the New York State Hassidic town of Kiryas Yoel, made his remarks during a speech delivered during the sect's annual dinner commemorating the 67th anniversary of the miraculous escape in 1944 of the previous Rebbe, Grand Rabbi R' Yoel Teitelbaum, from the Nazis in Hungary.
One of the leaders of Budapest’s Vaadat Ezra V’Hatzalah (Aid and Rescue Council), Rudolph Kastner, had brokered a deal with top Nazi official Adolph Eichmann to let 1,600 passengers leave the country by train in exchange for a large sum of money, plus gold and diamonds. Eichmann reneged at the last minute, though, and instead sent the train to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Miraculously, the passengers were released after four months of negotiations and allowed to travel on to Switzerland. (ed. note: The choice of the passengers led to Kastner's being accused of making deals with the Nazis for his own benefit. He was found innocent when tried in Israel, but was gunned down by someone who had lost his family).
The present Rebbe, Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum, told the dinner guests about his predecessor's emphasis on continuing the sect's customs in America. He also told the thousands who attended the affair, held at the New York State Armory in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood, that religious Jews pray daily for the welfare of the United States -- including a special blessing for its leaders.
“We enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But recently self-appointed Jewish leaders have gotten up and insulted the President in the worst way," Rabbi Teitelbaum said. "Their words have been broadcast on the radio and television and all the media.
"Why should Jews come out in public with these sort of statements? It is provoking the nations to hate us and it brings danger upon Jews not only here but all over the globe.," he warned.
"We mustn’t forget that this is exile. Who knows what the effects of this irresponsible behavior could be?”
The Satmar hassidim are anti-Zionist, because they believe that Jews must await the Messiah's coming to establish a state and because Zionism is anti-religious [which was true enough at its start].. The Rebbe naturally spoke about what he considered to be "the dangers of Zionism."