Candidates in Michigan’s 40th House District Spar over Israel Support
David Wolkinson, Republican candidate in Michigan’s 40th House District, attacked his opponent Mari Manoogian, Democratic candidate, on his Facebook page, claiming that she is anti-Israel in a video titled “Mari Manoogian’s Anti-Israel Positions: Too Radical for Our Community.”
Manoogian responded in a press release issued Monday, which read, “As a former program officer at the U.S. Department of State, I support the state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and as an ally of the United States. Furthermore, I firmly support a two-state solution, and do not support the BDS movement.
“As a descendant of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, my family and I find this attack and its implications particularly offensive and call upon my opponent’s campaign to issue a public apology.”
Her supporters, including State Rep. Jeremy Moss, called for Wolkinson’s ad to be taken down.
Wolkinson responded in a press release, also dated Monday, “thanking” Manoogian for her “about-face.”
“Having led an anti-divestment group while at the University of Michigan and being an activist in support of Israel for my entire adult life, I welcome Mari’s flip to our side of this issue,” Wolkinson wrote. “I invite Mari to join me in a candidate forum so she can explain to the residents of our district the importance of preserving a strong American-Israeli relationship and her journey from supporting politicians like Rashida Tlaib, Garlin Gilchrist, Keith Ellison, and Ilhan Omar over the past six months, to where she claims to stand today. If Mari withdraws her support from each, I will happily stop running the advertisement educating our community about those she has previously supported.”
In the release, Wolkinson describes why each of the people he says Manoogian’s supports are anti-Israel: Tlaib comparing modern-day Israel to apartheid; Gilchrist’s anti-Israel tweets from nine years ago; Ellison’s reported ties to anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan; and Omar, Ellison’s likely successor in Congress, who has also called Israel an “apartheid regime.”
The Levin family — former Sen. Carl Levin, U.S. Rep Sander Levin and congressional candidate Andy Levin — followed with a press release that called for Wolkinson to cease his accusations. The release states that “for many years, our family has emphasized the importance of keeping support for Israel bipartisan,” and they were “disappointed” that Wolkinson would “falsely accuse his opponent of “anti-Israel extremism” and “supporting Hamas.”