Guest Blogger

Wiesel's Lesson for the Gays

Filed By Guest Blogger | May 08, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: civil rights, Elie Wiesel, Gay Inc, gay rights, Jewish Americans, LGBT Americans, LGBT community, pressure the government

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Michael Petrelis is gay man living with HIV, and his 221 t-cells in San Francisco's Mission District. He's been happily partnered to Mike Merrigan since 1995.

elie_wiesel_at_white_house.jpgOy, vey. Those Jews are like the gays, in that they're never satisfied. Always kvetching about something, and at important times, over vital matters, taking out old-fashioned, and still effective, full-page newspaper ads. Wait a sec. That only applies to the Jews, not the fagelahs, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Survivor of the Nazi camps and a major ripoff by Barnie Madoff, Elie Wiesel, noshed with President Obama at the White House this week. The New York Times reported:

The [Tuesday] lunch meeting between Mr. Wiesel and Mr. Obama came three weeks after Mr. Wiesel took out a full-page advertisement in a number of United States newspapers criticizing the Obama administration for pressuring Mr. Netanyahu to stop Jewish settlement construction in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians would like to put the capital of an eventual Palestinian state.

The advertisement, in which Mr. Wiesel wrote that "Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul," alarmed White House officials, in part because it came on the heels of similar advertisements from the World Jewish Congress and grumbling from members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, that Mr. Obama was pushing Mr. Netanyahu too hard.

Back in April, after the Human Rights Campaign placed full-page ads in gay papers that aren't read in the White House or in Congress targeting the gay community not the Obama administration, I called on them to take out ads in Washington papers. Send a message to the President through national or mainstream advertising. A radical concept not on HRC's radar.

The Jews favoring Israel's housing and security positions have a few bones to pick with Obama and they used standard political pressure tactics to get his attention - to the point where he had to meet with Wiesel. Just like the Jews - a niche voting bloc with big bucks to throw at candidates - the gays are on somewhat comparable footing with the Jews in terms of votes and dollars.

But unlike the Jews we don't demand our well-funded HRC, NGLTF, GLAAD and other Gay Inc orgs pool their resources and political power and take out ads in the New York Times and Washington Post to lobby Obama.

Nor do we see gay moguls - Jon Stryker, Bruce Bastion, Jim Hormel, Tim Gill, David Geffen, Michael Huffington, Henry van Ameringen, David Bohnett, Jonathan Lewis, et al. - filling in the marketing void. Why can't they launch an independent print and multi-media campaign?

Jew Wiesel did it. Fagelah Geffen and crew could pick up a few pointers from him about wielding power in Washington and getting the President's full and undivided attention.

The incompetence of Gay Inc, compounded by the failure of any mogul to fund a media campaign at this crucial legislative time, makes me verklempt.

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Michael @ | May 8, 2010 2:15 PM

With respect to Michael, I've been saying the same thing for years...but not just ads in the NYTimes and WAPO but in papers that Middle America reads like USA Today and bigger regional papers.


It's waaaay past time we gave NONgays a reason to demand the President and Congress not just repeal DADT but stop discharges IMMEDIATELY:

1. The business case. Studying the ban, discharging gays, recruiting and training their replacements has cost taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars over the life of the ban. And now Gates is spending MORE taxpayer dollars to study it AGAIN!

2. The national security case. Obama said it himself TEN MONTHS AGO: "[T]hese [discharges of patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well] underscore the URGENCY of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY." - Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, June 29, 2009.


He added last October what he'd frequently claimed when asking us to hire him: "especially when we're fighting two wars."

And with HRC and Gill, et al., there's also enough money to do some TV spots to convince nongay American that their and their family's security is in danger because of DADT.

I'd agree, Michael. We've become too insular. Ads in queer media are meant to provide PR for the org. Ads to a straight audience are meant to move people.