Interview with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) discussed his relationship with the Jewish community in Illinois and his position on Israel in an interview with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh following an event in NYC on Monday. “Both my children went to JCC schools and felt very comfortable there because they were the best schools available. And so they were in some ways culturally Jewish, even at the same time they were religiously Hindus,” said Krishnamoorthi, 44, who was born in India and first elected to Congress in 2016. “I consider myself a Hin-Jew, a Hindu with great affection for the Jewish people.” He first visited Israel 10 years ago on a trip sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC.

On current political climate: “I see it as being very discouraging in terms of the personal insults, the harsh rhetoric, the coarseness of the dialog. I believe very firmly that for us to engage in bipartisanship we have to avoid that type of dialog, otherwise, you are going to embitter people. And if you insult people and embitter them, then they are not going to trust you. And if they don’t trust you, they’re not going to do deals with you. It’s just that simple. In the private sector, you can’t do a deal or transaction with anyone unless there’s some level of trust. And in Washington, unfortunately, there’s a shortage of trust right now.”

On Louis Farrakhan: “I have to disassociate with him. I’ve never met him, I’ve never spoken to him. But I probably will never meet him because of the vile and reprehensible remarks he made about Jews, but also other people. That has no place in America. That is not the America that I want my children to live in. And so I’m going to continue to fight against intolerance against all communities.”

On Israel possibly becoming more of a partisan issue: “I do fear that Israel is going to become a partisan issue. I’ll be honest with you. I feel that some have decided that they were going to make Israel almost a part of their conservative evangelical agenda, and they basically said, ‘We’re going to do X, Y, and Z for Israel, and part of that deal is X, Y, and Z on this other issue. And once you did that, once you linked those, then there’s going to be people on the other side who push back because they might like one part of that, but they don’t like the whole package. I think that the relationship between Israel and the United States is a special relationship, and it’s one that we have to always keep outside of politics, whatever we can, however we can. And if we do that, I think both countries will benefit in the long term.”

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