Calif. House primary heats up over Israel

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A fund-raising letter rebuking a primary candidate’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is heating up a House race between two Jewish candidates.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, the Democrat incumbent, is facing off against Marcy Winograd, a public school teacher and the co-founder of L.A. Jews for Peace, in the 36th District.

Harman has been a longtime champion of U.S. support for Israel, along with the mainstreams of both major political parties. Winograd is an advocate for Palestinian rights and a one-state solution, and has been a frequent presence at meetings denouncing Israeli oppression of Palestinians and accusing the Jewish state of war crimes.

Henry Waxman, the state’s leading Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, circulated a pro-Harman fund-raising letter this week stating that "Ms. Winograd’s views on Israel I find repugnant in the extreme." Waxman added that if the U.S. government were to follow Winograd’s proposed policies, "Israel would cease to exist."

Citing a Winograd speech at a California church, he noted that Winograd and her group had picketed the Israeli Consulate and the Museum of Tolerance following Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006. Waxman quoted her statement that "it is now too late for a two-state solution."

In the same speech, Winograd declared that "I do not want my tax dollars to support institutionalized racism. As a Jew, I do not want my name associated with occupation or extermination."

However, Winograd also said, "I cannot condone cross-border rocket attacks or discotheque bombings that send blood through the streets of Tel Aviv."

Harman defeated Winograd in the 2006 Democratic primary, when the challenger won 38 percent of the vote.

Some Harman supporters fear that Winograd’s progressive stands on social issues and her opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may appeal to many Jewish voters, especially those not familiar with the challenger’s views on Israel.

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