by Ryan Grim
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has played an outsize role in the primary contest between Blue Dog Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and progressive challenger Marcy Winograd as the two battle for a House seat representing part of Los Angeles.
Waxman, who represents an adjoining district to the north that encompasses Beverly Hills, began a campaign to discourage high-dollar Jewish donors from supporting Winograd, insisting that "[i]n 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. These are not trivial issues; they cannot be ignored or overlooked. Jane's victory will represent a clear repudiation of these views."
Waxman, a generally progressive Democrat, is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Winograd, who like Waxman is Jewish, is highly critical of Israeli policy toward Palestinians, including the blockade of Gaza. The Harman-Winograd primary is Tuesday.
In a recent interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Winograd fired back, questioning whether Waxman pledges allegiance to the United States or to Israel first.
"I appreciate Henry Waxman, the fact that he pioneered generics, that he's concerned about the environment," said Winograd, when asked about Waxman's criticism of her. "However, on foreign policy we have strong differences. I would hope that all of our lawmakers would pledge allegiance to this country as the country they represent."
"Are you saying Waxman isn't loyal?" Goldberg asked.
"I don't know. That's a question you have to ask him," she said.