FINKELSTEIN, ARTHUR


FINKELSTEIN, ARTHUR
FINKELSTEIN, ARTHUR (1945– ), U.S. political consultant and campaign director. Born in Brookyn to East European immigrant parents, Finkelstein was a graduate of Queens College. He served as a demographic analyst in Richard Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign and worked as a political consultant exclusively for Republican candidates, ranging from Jesse Helms, who in 1978 won a brutal race where the religion of his Jewish opponent was at issue, to Alfonse D'Amato . Finkelstein worked in the 1980 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and Senator Robert Dole. Finkelstein's campaigns have a style all their own. He avoids the limelight, never giving interviews or press conferences, seldom if ever being photographed. He tries to tag the political opponent as liberal. His own Jewish identity and pro-Israeli leanings do not restrain him from pointing out the non-Christian religious beliefs of political opponents. He helped orchestrate Alfonse D'Amato's successful primary victory over veteran liberal Republican Senator jacob javits in New York, where he successfully exploited Javits ill health – he had a degenerative muscular disease – without alienating voters or creating sympathy for the hitherto popular senator. He then skillfully positioned D'Amato to win the Senate seat in a three-way contest against two Jews, Representative Liz Holtzman and Javits, who stayed in the race as the Liberal Party candidate. He was to repeat his giant-killing ability in 1994 when he advised George Pataki in his race against three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo for governor of New York. With the Americanization of Israel in the 1990s, this style of campaigning was introduced into Israeli politics by both the left and right. Labor candidates imported Democratic pollsters and strategists such as James Carville and the Likud, most especially binyamin netanyahu , called in Arthur Finkelstein. He helped orchestrate Netanyahu's come-from-behind victory over shimon peres . His string of victories was broken in 1998 when Senator D'Amato lost his reelection bid to Charles Schumer and Senator Launch Faircloth of North Carolina lost to John Edwards. In anticipation of the 2006 reelection bid of Senator Hillary Clinton, he was the mastermind behind a Stop Her Now Political Action Committee seeking to weaken an expected 2008 Presidential bid. Deeply private, even reclusive, about his personal life, Finkelstein surprised many Conservative admirers by marrying his long-time male companion in Massachusetts, the only state where such unions are permitted. They have adopted two children. (Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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