When I first read about Marcy Winograd, the political activist challenging Rep. Jane Harman (D.-Calif.) in the Democratic primary on June 8th, she struck me as not your typical Jewish candidate for office. Jane Harman, who has been in Congress for 18 years, is more the typical Jewish candidate for office; liberal on domestic policy, and solidly pro-Israel. Winograd leans pretty far left on domestic issues, and is avowedly anti-Israel. In fact, she got into an ugly spat with Henry Waxman, who represents a nearby congressional district, after she said in a speech, "As a Jew, I do not want my name or country associated with occupation or extermination." Waxman responded in a fundraising letter for Harman: "In Marcy Winograd's foreign policy, Israel would cease to exist. In Marcy Winograd's vision, Jews would be at the mercy of those who do not respect democracy or human rights."
Winograd is obviously outside the American Jewish mainstream, but by how much? I'm very interested in the question -- brought to the fore last week by Peter Beinart -- about whether American Jews are slipping away from Israel - so I thought it would be interesting to ask Winograd about her challenge to Harman, and about her views on the Middle East. This is Winograd's second attempt to wrest the seat from Harman; in 2006, she won 37.5 percent of the Democratic primary vote. Now, she has the backing of Howard Dean's grass-roots group, Democracy for America, and stands to pose more of a challenge to Harman in this season of anti-incumbent feeling.
I spoke with Winograd by telephone a few days ago. In our conversation, she said she personally supports the replacement of Israel with a bi-national state; she also argued that the U.S. should engage Iran in "people-to-people" diplomacy; that aerospace companies in her district should re-orient themselves away from manufacturing weapons and to the pursuit of green technologies; and she suggested that Henry Waxman is treasonous. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation: