You may have asked yourself, who was the genius who, several months ago, told Bibi Netanyahu he could bolster his political power and even increase it (to as much as 50 Knesset seats), if he ran on one ticket with Avigdor Liberman’s Russian based, secularist party Israel Beitenu.
It was the guy in the picture above, Arthur J. Finkelstein, of Arthur J. Finkelstein and Associates, a political consulting firm based in Irvington, New York.
Finkelstein rose to fame on the shoulders of New York’s Republican Senator Al D’Amato and lists among his former clients Israeli Prime Ministers Arik Sharon and Bibi Netanyahu.
His current Israeli clients include Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
When Bibi and Avigdor took the podium to announce their political wedding, they had a combined Knesset presence of 42 seats. Now, after Liberman has had to resign under the possibility of an indictment for illegal use of political influence, and Netanyahu has been battered by the right as emancipator of the great Palestinian nation, and by the left as oppressor of widows and orphans, the combined Likud-Beitenu list is hovering in the polls between 32 and 37 seats.
That’s some advice.
Last night, Israel’s Channel 10 said Arthur was going home to New York, a week or so ahead of the elections in Israel. Arthur says it’s not because he got dumped. He’s sticking by his guns and will continue to manage the campaign through his partner, George Birnbaum.
I was just thinking, had Bibi not gotten into the marriage with Finkelstein’s client Liberman, what would have happened after Liberman’s disgrace? You guessed it – the Israel Beitenu voters would have flocked to the Likud. Bibi could have learned a few useful Russian phrases: Spasiba (thank you), Puzhalsta (please), Izvineetye. (excuse me), Ochin Preeyatna (pleased to meet you), and Bol’še vodki, požalujsta (More vodka, please) – and he could have netted much of the 42 seats all by his lonesome.
I suppose naftali Bennett owes Arthur Finkelstein a debt of gratitude…