In a post earlier today (which caught the eye of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Twitter), I said that the Democratic Party, which has moved toward weaker support of Israel even while maintaining the allegiance of most American Jews, would likely find itself in trouble with Jewish voters if prominent members began to question some of the more basic tenets of Israel and America’s relationship with it.
Well, this is not about that happening, exactly, but a candidate in a California Democratic congressional primary has called for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict—a decidedly left-wing position that, many say (and I’d be among them), would represent something like the end of Israel. (Oh good, I’ll get both sides angry at me today!) Marcy Winograd, the candidate, has called the two-state solution—the notion of an Israel and a Palestine side-by-side on the land—“unrealistic” and “fundamentally wrong.”
So why isn’t this about the Democrats turning away from Israel? Because Winograd is in a decided minority even among the Democrats, and is not in power, and is likely not going to be in power. In fact, her opponent in the primary, Rep. Jane Harman, is a strong defender of Israel known for wanting to take a harsh line on Iran; she is supported by the very powerful California Democrat Henry Waxman, who, though generally to the left of her, is a staunch two-stater who says, “In Marcy Winograd’s vision, Jews would be at the mercy of those who do not respect democracy or human rights.”
Waxman also said, “I think liberals and progressives should reject” Winograd. I think liberals and progressives do reject Winograd: I think that the poll, which showed only 48 percent Democratic “support” for Israel, reflected tepid support among Democrats for some of Israel’s current policies, not for its continued existence as a Jewish democracy. And as long as Democrats continue to reject Winograd for the most part, then, as I wrote before, Democrats should be unashamed, unembarrassed, and largely unconcerned.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.