“Thank God, you’re speaking up. You’re speaking for us.” “You’re saying what I want to say, but I can’t say it.”
These are some of the comments Marcy Winograd, the Jewish co-founder of the L.A. chapter of Progressive Democrats of America and candidate for congress, said she has gotten from supporters in response to a letter she wrote to Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman. Waxman has sharply criticized Winograd’s leftist views on Israel, and he is backing Congresswoman Jane Harman, whom Winograd is attempting to unseat in the race for the 36th congressional district.
At a campaign fundraiser in a supporter’s Culver City home on Jan. 23, Winograd spoke briefly about Waxman’s strong reaction against her publicly advocating for a one-state solution, which would give Palestinians citizenship and potentially make Israel a secular state, as well as her outspoken condemnation of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
“There’s nothing wrong or to be ashamed of in saying, ‘Equal rights, human rights, for all,’” Winograd told the group of about 100.
When voters go to the polls for the June 8 primary election, it will be Winograd’s second run against Harman for the congressional 36th district seat, which represents Venice, Torrance, San Pedro, Mar Vista, El Segundo and Redondo and Manhattan Beaches. In 2006, Harman defeated Winograd.
The dialogue between Winograd and Waxman began last month, when Waxman sent a letter to Harman supporters urging them to vote for Harman in light of Winograd’s views on Israel. “In Marcy Winograd’s foreign policy, Israel would cease to exist,” Waxman said.
On Jan. 3, Winograd wrote back to Waxman, saying she is in favor of a two-state solution, provided Israel withdraws from the disputed territories.
“To stop the suffering of the Palestinian people and to end the rocket attacks on Israelis near the border, I am ready and willing to accept a negotiated peace agreement that adheres to principles of justice and recognizes a two-state solution based on withdrawal of illegal settlements to the 1967 borders or a mutually-agreed exchange of territory,” Winograd wrote.
At the fundraiser, Winograd attempted to turn the tables, criticizing Harman for voting against her “good friend” Henry Waxman’s amendment to make drugs affordable for people with cancer.
Referring to her words, “good friend,” someone from the audience called out, “You mean that sarcastically, right?”
Winograd also argued against military recruiting in schools; referred to having worked with Daniel Ellsberg as a paralegal on the Pentagon papers trial and having helped organize workers under Cesar Chavez, as well as co-founding L.A. Jews for Peace. She also mentioned her work with the L.A. Unified School District and the importance of transitioning the United States “from a war economy to a green economy.” She thanked writer Linda Milazzo, who was in attendance, for the piece she published in the Huffington Post about the back-and-forth between herself and Waxman, and this led to another comment about Israel.
“I’m glad that Israel sent 500 or more doctors to Haiti,” Winograd said. “Now they need to send doctors to Gaza.”
For this election, which The Nation magazine listed in the “Noted” section in their current issue, Winograd has insisted that with the state economy in shambles, and with rising unemployment, voters in her district are more concerned about local issues than they are with the Middle East.
Myla Rosen, a Jewish voter in the 36th district and a Winograd supporter, said Israel matters to her just as much as any other issue. “There are a lot of things that are important to me in this election,” she said. “Israel is one of many.”
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