US Election Race Features Israel

A Jewish Democrat’s support of a “one-state” solution has turned a California Congressional primary into a debate on Israel.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 22:51

Congresswoman Jane Harman
Congresswoman Jane Harman
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Jewish Democrat’s support for a “one-state” solution has turned a California Congressional primary into a debate on Israel. In a senatorial race, two GOP candidates charge their opponent, a former Congressman, with being “weak on Israel.”

The southern California Congressional seat is held by Jewish incumbent Jane Harman, who has gained the support of powerful colleague Henry Waxman. He has publicly criticized challenger Marcy Winograd for adopting a policy by which “Israel would cease to exist.”

Harman (pictured), Waxman and Winograd all are Jewish. Winograd is testing the strength of the Left by challenging Harman, who has a long record as a strong backer of Israel, where she has visited several times. Harman consistently has warned about the threat of Iran becoming a nuclear power.

Winograd is a co-founder of the Los Angeles Jews for Peace. In a speech in 2008, she called the two-state solution, of the Palestinian Authority existing as a country within Israel’s current borders, an “unrealistic” and “fundamentally wrong” answer to the Arab-Israeli struggle. Her vision calls for a single state, which virtually all Israeli leaders oppose as being a threat to the existence of a Jewish state.

Waxman, who is considered far more liberal then Harman, wrote in her defense, "In Marcy Winograd’s vision, Jews would be at the mercy of those who do not respect democracy or human rights."

His support for Harman indicates that the pro-Arab Jewish lobby has gone too far out in left field. “In a Democratic primary in Southern California, Jewish voters are going to be a disproportionate share of the electorate,” according to University of California at Fullerton political scientist Raphael Sonenshein, who was quoted by “Jews are not only strong as voters but are strong as donors.

“In the Jewish community, there is going to be a wide range of views on Israel, but not as wide as Winograd’s,” said Sonenshein.

Waxman told Politico that Winograd “represents a fringe, extremist sentiment in the Democratic Party…, and I think liberals and progressives should reject it as well.”

Winograd’s backers have retaliated by playing the “Holocaust card.” One of her fundraisers, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Marc Chomel, said, “Marcy Winograd is not an anti-Israel candidate. To say she’s an anti-Israel candidate ignores the fact that some of her ancestors lost their lives in the Holocaust.”

Another race featuring Israel is the Republican primary contest to displace incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is a liberal with a solid pro-Israel record. A strong Republican challenger is former Congressman Tom Campbell, who is in the lead against two pro-Israeli contestants despite recent disclosure that he accepted a campaign donation in 2000 from a college professor who pleaded guilty to helping the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.

Campbell has told voters that Arabs “are entitled to a homeland and that Jerusalem can be the capital of more than one nation.” As a Congressman in the 1990s, he proposed amendments that would have cut American aid to Israel, and he has voted against designating Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Two other GOP candidates are state legislator Chuck deVore, who has strongly backed Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terror, and Carly Fiorina, who has flatly opposed attempts to “engage” Iran.

“We cannot afford to talk any longer,” she recently said. “We must act now to implement tough, crippling sanctions to persuade the Iranian regime to suspend its nuclear program and engage in serious negotiations.”

One important factor in the voting may be evangelical Christians.

"The bigger concern for Campbell is less with Jewish voters than with religious conservatives," according to Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP political operative.

Muslim Public Affairs Council officials have defended Campbell, accusing critics of using the issue of accepting money from an Islamic Jihad ally as a “scare tactic.”