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George E. Birnbaum is an American international political consultant. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and has worked on dozens of United States Congressional and Senatorial races. In 1998 he moved to Israel to serve as a consultant to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, became his chief of staff, and afterwards formed a partnership with political consultant Arthur Finkelstein.
He was a staffer at a national Republican Party committee in a United States election cycle, and worked more than a dozen international campaigns. His work includes polling, strategy, paid media and grassroots coalition building, developing and implementing campaign strategies.
Birnbaum took his first paid position in a political campaign in 1992, signing onto Ohio Republican Congressman Bob McEwen’s reelection campaign. In the years following, he worked on more congressional races, including campaigns in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.
During the 1996 cycle, Birnbaum served as the deputy political director and director of survey research under National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Alfonse D'Amato. Birnbaum worked on two dozen races in an election where Republicans broke the historical pattern and won two seats in the U.S. Senate. Following the 1996 cycle, Birnbaum managed Charlie Crist’s 1998 unsuccessful challenger campaign against incumbent Senator Bob Graham in Florida.
It was after the 1998 cycle that Birnbaum consulted for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign. Birnbaum served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff, a position he held for a year and a half.
After serving Prime Minister Netanyahu, Birnbaum took a hiatus from political work, spending the next two years concentrating on international philanthropy and charitable work. In 2003, Birnbaum went into partnership with American conservative political consultant Arthur Finkelstein.
Since then, the two have consulted and managed campaigns throughout Europe and the Middle East, including the successful campaigns of Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon, Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Sergei Stanishev, Prime Minister of Romania Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi, and President of Serbia Boris Tadic. In 2008, they worked to elect Nir Barkat as mayor of Jerusalem, and in 2009 they helped Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party become the third largest party in Israel – a position of strength which resulted in Mr. Lieberman’s ascension to the position of Foreign Minister in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s cabinet.
- U.S. pushing Netanyahu to accept demands for peace talks; The Washington Post
- Washington 'committed' to ensuring Israel secure; The Toronto Star
- Pushing right-wing American politics -- in Israel; Salon.com
- Mofaz learns campaign lessons from US experts; The Jerusalem Post