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Arthur Finkelstein

Arthur Finkelstein
Arthur Jay Finkelstein, born May 18, 1945, was a political consultant who worked on various campaigns in the United States, Israel, and post-Soviet countries.

Born in New York, his work in American politics dates back to the 1960s. One of his earliest jobs was working as a pollster for the 1968 Nixon campaign. Finkelstein later became the chief strategist for the Roger Stone-founded National Conservative Political Action Committee. The group supported the 1976 primary campaign of Ronald Reagan and was a major factor in the rise of the modern American right. He went on to support Reagan’s successful 1980 presidential campaign.

In 1996, Finkelstein was contracted to work for Benjamin Netanyahu on his campaign after a recommendation by his former boss Ronald Lauder. He worked for Ariel Sharon in the 2001 elections, and Avigdor Lieberman in the 2006, 2009, and 2015 elections. Finkelstein is responsible for the 2009 slogan by Yisrael Beiteinu during his electoral campaign, “Without loyalty, there is no citizenship”.

Finklestein was hired by the Századvég Foundation, Fidesz’s think tank, in 2008, along with his longtime collaborator, George Birnbaum. The two helped support the 2010 election campaign of the party, where on their recommendation the campaign focused on the rage caused by the financial crisis on “the bureaucrats” and foreign capital. This succeeded in helping the party win the two-thirds majority that allowed it to unilaterally rewrite the constitution, but this meant that the government now lacked an adversary. George Soros was chosen on Ficklestein’s recommendation.

During the campaign ahead of the 2014 elections, Orban-friendly media complained about Soros-funded NGOs. In the 2015 panic over refugees, Soros’ defense of the migrants played right into their narrative. By the time of Finklestein’s death in 2017, the Soros campaign had proved to be so successful that it was copied by other right-wing groups abroad, including the United States.

Finkelstein’s speech at the Cevro Institute in Prague in 2011 sums up his legacy: “it is what you perceive to be true that's true, not truth.”