There is a commonly quoted anecdote that when Vice President Hubert Humphrey came to the Satmar Rav for votes in 1968 and asked him what he could do for him the Satmar Rav replied "Sell weapons to Israel!". In some versions of the story Humphrey is surprised about this and the Satmar Rav explains "We have a disagreement with our family members but we don't want to see them hurt". This anecdote seems to be popular because it contradict (or at least mitigates) the uncompromising anti-Zionism that is reflected in R' Yoelish's published writings. My question is does anyone have a reliable source for this story and is it true? And if not where does this story come from?

  • 1
    This sounds very suspect to me. If that were true, it would not be in spite of what he published - it would be in direct contradiction. A desire for a strong State of Israel!? I would be astonished if he ever expressed such a thing...
    – Shimon bM
    Jul 18, 2013 at 12:38
  • Suspiciously out of character of the Satmar Rav to say this...
    – ezra
    Aug 23, 2016 at 22:20
  • 1
    Seems to be about Jews and History; not Judaism.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 24, 2016 at 1:40

2 Answers 2


The Satmar book, The Rebbe, mentions a different version of that story. The Rebbe is quoted as saying:

Had Humphrey spoken to me in support of the Zionist state, it wouldn't have bothered me in the least. We Jews have a Torah which forbids us to have a state during the exile, and therefore we may not ask the Americans to support the state. But a non-Jew has no Torah, and by supporting the state he feels he is helping Jews. So, on the contrary, if an American non-Jew is against the Zionist state, it shows he is an anti-Semite.

Cited on http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/824/features/the-riddle-of-the-satmar/


Neither story is accurate; the Satmar Rebbe's remark has been completely misconstrued. The real story was simply that during his visit, Humphrey spoke of his support for Israel and the Rebbe simply smiled. When asked afterwards, the Rebbe said "that's just his way of saying he's not an antisemite".

All the other variations of this story are Zionist inventions.

Source: people who spoke to people who were present.


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