Finkelstein Warns Judicial Campaigns Foster Anti-Semitism


Coming to a condominium, civic or politicial group near you:  The Howard Finkelstein Spring Tour.

His message to fellow Jews: Don’t play ethnic politics.

Howard Finkelstein

“I’m speaking to some of these groups Jew-to-Jew, says Finkelstein.

When Finkelstein talks, audiences listen. 

He is not only an accomplished trial attorney and the colorful Broward Public Defender.  He is also Channel 7’s “Help Me Howard legal commentator.

He is a spellbinding public speaker.  

His latest round of speeches are taking place almost every night. In them,  Finkelstein has a warning for Jewish voters. 

He believes something “very dangerous is going on in Broward’s judicial races.

Lawyers some of them clearly less qualified are running with the hope that their Jewish-sounding names will enable them to beat a qualified Hispanic or black judge.

“I’ve waited 25 years for minority judges and my fellow Jews are going out of their way to get rid of them. It is very, very wrong, Finkelstein says.

Finkelstein didn’t name names.  He may in the future.

He did say that Circuit Judge Elijah Williams “reached defendants.

He earlier was quoted in JAABlog:

“I believe that Elijah Williams is one of the very few people in this building who can actually reach kids and change their lives from being criminals to good members of the community.  As for our Hispanic judges, I have heard nothing but incredible compliments and feedback from folks on both sides of the aisle concerning Rodriguez and Rebollo, that these gentlemen are learned in the law and that everyone in front of them is treated with dignity, compassion, and fairness.”

The public defender remembers three decades ago when Jews were the ones who couldn’t get a shot at the judiciary.  The Christian legal establishment kept Jews off the bench.

“I’m telling Jewish voters not to repeat the mistake.  Don’t enable Jews to keep others off the bench solely because they are minorities, he says.

Defendants that the public defenders office represent are largely black and Hispanic, Finkelstein notes.

“It is very important for my clients to see people like them on the bench,  he says. “It is an issue of fairness for them.

There has been a flood of lawyers with Jewish-sounding names running against incumbent judges this year.  The theory is that the August election will be dominated by Jewish voters and thus candidates with Jewish-sounding names have an edge.

Finkelstein warns his audiences that the campaign trend will foster anti-Semitism.

“Don’t be surprised if you see backlash from the Hispanic and black communities, Finkelstein warns.  “It isn’t going to be pleasant and it isn’t going to be good for this community.

22 Responses to “Finkelstein Warns Judicial Campaigns Foster Anti-Semitism”

  1. Which Races says:

    Kudos to Howard for calling out these issues. But, which races is he speaking of specifically?

    Saw there was a Berkowitz running against Pratt — is she a lawyer worthy of becoming a judge? Or just a name?

    Saw there is an Olga Levine running against Seidman (but now says redesignated — meaning?) but the Florida Bar has her name as Olga Gonzalez-Levine? Is she shedding her hispanic heritage to try to be more electable? She is in the Public Defender’s office too. So is Mr. Finkelstein talking about his own employees participating in such behavior?

  2. Finkelstein Hypocrite says:

    What about Pearlman and the many other Jewish public defenders running against judges, Howard?

    FROM BUDDY: The candidate is actually Sandra Perlman, who has no opponent at the current time.

  3. Help me howard to the coke says:

    Howard got Olga to run against Luzzo because she had a jewish name and he doesn’t. Luzzo is a Civil Judge who didn’t cross anyone in the pd’s office. So why would Howrad support her to run against him? because he wants his judges in power so he can tell them what to do.

  4. Luzzo reprimanded says:

    Luzzo is part of old school Broward County politics. Just google him and you will see his reprimand. His conduct should not be ignored.

  5. Excuses says:

    9:35: I googled. Ok, dont ignore the conduct, agreed. But, that was 10 years ago and doesnt explain why someone all of a sudden with no civil experience is running against him (after being in anotehr race and bailing on that race). Sure, the position will be moved around I guess, 8:11 makes a great point. Hard to imagine Levine has a real beef with this judge or knows anything all about him. This smells of opportunism, not real concern over the judiciary or this particular judge.

  6. Just keeps pulling the wool over our eyes says:

    “His message to fellow Jews: Don’t play ethnic politics.”

    (Unless you work in my office, then a Solomon can run against a black woman named Banks, a Jaovich can run against a Destry, (Gonzalez hidden)Levine can run against a Luzzo, Pearlman vs an Aleman, Steinstaltz vs a Skolnik,)


    Heck, I will spend my summer going to a condominium, civic or politicial group near you: The Howard Finkelstein Spring Tour. Let me guess all PD candiadtes will be invited to the events that Howard speaks at. So while Howard does not endorse anyone he will be on hand to make sure everyone in the crowd knows what races his employees are running in.

    I thought Howard was Non-Political? If so, why is he going on a speaking tour of political or quasi political events?

    Depite what Howard thinks he was not elected the Moral Compass of Broward County but as its Public Defender. As such he should stick to his job and keep working at the courthouse and not condo clubhouses.

  7. knowledge says:

    also when he runs for piblic defender in 2012 he can then put the surnames side,or will he encourage other groups to run against him lol.
    also Berkowitz was a public defender at one point and is being pushed by higher ups of the Democratic Executive Committee,who are friends of the PD office;
    Howard is political as they come he is gearing up for his race in 2012

  8. Lawyer says:

    Howard Finkelstein is one of the most popular person in, not just Broward County, but South Florida.
    He will be the Public Defender for as long as he wants. He is one of the few true leaders in our community.

  9. Help me howard to the coke says:

    Dan Marino is popular too we dont need morality advice from him or the little cokehead who smashed into the back of a police car with a briefcase full of drugs. Howard is not paid to preach but to work as public defender.

  10. KNOWLEDGE says:

    lawyer isnt it funny that a life long criminal lawyer,gives civil advice on TV WSVN7,Howard may be popular,but he is also unpopular

  11. sunny skies shady people says:

    is howard a jew-for-jesus? can someone confirm this? i sure the condo voters would want to know this tid bit if true?

  12. Truth Hurts...Cynicism destroys says:

    2:31: You can criticize Howard’s past, and he will be the first I am sure to admit his personal failings years ago. However, on this issue he is right on. Even those who have had personal failings in the past can be right on some topic, and dismissing him simply because of what happened years ago is intellectually dishonesty and juvenile.

    Berkowitz has no place being a judge. Period, end of story.

    Levine, who is really all of sudden transformed from Gonzalez-Levine to only Levine, has switched races multiple times and now settled in because there is no opponent against an incumbant AND her last name MAY give an advantage to a voter who knowns equally nothing about either candidate. Certainly, she has no reason to be interested in the civil bench and certainly not this particular judge. This is all now about name and how a voter who knows nothing about the race or the judges may pick one name over another.

    It would be astonishing to me if the Berkowitz and Gonzolez-Levine campaign camps never ever discussed (or even considered) the perceived advantage derived from the voter behavior they think will be successful — name recognition predicated on a generalization. Of course, they will never admit their goal is to take advantage of the voter booth dynamic of first considering the candidates and choosing a name only based on the suspected origin of the surname.

    On the other hand, the danger of all this is that there are incredibly competent lawyers who are being smeared with the same brush. Solomon is very talented and would be a great judge. Perlman is getting into this for the right reason and is a great trial lawyer. Jakovich has been dedicated to justice for many years, a great smart lawyer, who is doing this for the right reasons I assume.

    So, Howard’s point is this is bad for politics, bad for the judiciary, and bad for us socially when decisions are made on race, or religion or anything other than merit. In the end, once recognized as success being achieved on grounds other than merit, it undermines the cause of building bridges, providing others opportunity in the future, and ultimately divides us more. Of course, more to the point, Howard rightly points out that having good judges who also happen to represent the full tapestry of county is goal undermined by the cynical political strategy predicated on name origin.

    For instance, Elijah is well liked and respected — was so before got on the bench and now has gained even more support. Rebollo and Rodriguez have received accolades even from those who were on the other side before they got there. If candidates were to succeed based on something other than merit (for example, the “right” last name), this would be a loss to the bench, to the litigants, the long fought for need to have such diversity, and ultimately to the cause of justice.

  13. Hispanics under attack in Broward says:

    Look at the Rodriguez race. Good judge being attacked by a lawyer FROM MIAMI who uses MIAMI address for campaign and who has been admitted since only 2000. Doesnt even practice in this courthouse!

    Why pick on him? Name?

    This is so bad and is going to feed those anti-semitic nuts out there.

  14. Phony says:

    Howard says he is talking “Jew to Jew” but he converted and is a Born Again Christian. He attends church regularly and has a cross tattoed on his chest. He tells everybody at the 12 Step that he credits Jesus with saving him from drugs so it is funny to see him talking Jew To Jew.


    Howard Finkelstein is not a Christian and has no tattoos. This rumor is total BS.

  15. Sad state of affairs says:

    some of the above posts simply show how poisonous and vile the courthouse has become.
    Howard rightfully points out a concern for Jews, Christians and minorities, and then he is PERSONALLY attacked.
    Look at the falsehood about being Christian posted above.
    Wake up. There are so many haters who post on local blogs by attacking and spreading lies.
    This is what the good judges are up against in this election…

  16. knowledge says:

    the fact of the matter that is the way it is in politics,in african american areas it would be hard to win if you were not african american,in miami little havana a cuban would win,it is true that there are better candidates but unfortunatly thats what happens.The problem with Howard is the jewish public deffenders should win but the others not,the issue right now is that these people have the right to win and this is the system for now,so Howard could rant and rave all he wants the law is not being broken,I do hope that Howard stays consistant and does not have a problem when FINKELSTEIN runs for his office in 2012.I do give him credit for leaving the grab bag courthouse rip off which is used as a political cash cow for lawyers,engineers,lobbyist and elected officals who grease up there campaign accounts when they run for elected office.
    Buddy you are correct Howard is not a born again christian that is total non sense

  17. Dear 430 says:

    Thanks Judge Rodriguz or is that with a q? I guess you gave up posting under your own name after you wrote about your friendship with Kulik, got some heat, then played the oh its not me posting card. Jews arent all bad right Carlos, I mean you do have Judy Stern running your campaign correct?

  18. Seidman's Got Howard says:

    Howard is a strong supporter of Lee Seidman. He has told his PDs not to give money to any opponent of Seidman and not to be seen at any rally or campaign party of the opponents.
    What happens when Seidman runs against Lebow, also supported by Howard?

  19. Ruth Lynch says:

    Thank you Howard for speaking the truth. We definitely have to be careful not to foster any ill will on both sides of the fence. There are approximately 95 Judges in Broward County and only 5 are Black and Hispanic and now there are no Hispanic females. If what you say is happening, it would be a travesty.

    Well, I plan to be a part of the solution.


  20. Ruth Lynch says:

    I am sorry, I mis-spoke, there are 2 Hispanic Judges on the Bench now.

  21. Finkelstein Hypocrite says:

    Finkelstein has asked his PDs today to find someone to run against Hurley. Hurley is Irish.

  22. Scrappy Do says:

    What about districting within the county for judges? That way, since most (not all, but most) ethnic groups ( and age groups) tend to live near each other, we would wind up with a diverse group of judges.