Author: Jackson Richman, Jewish News Syndicate 

Republican Rep. Russ Fulcher, 56, defeated Democratic nominee Cristina McNeil in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District in the 2018 midterm elections to replace Republican Rep. Raúl Labrador, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of the state.

 JNS talked with Fulcher by phone. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: What is your overall stance on the U.S.-Israel relationship?

A: I get that America and Israel have a very unique relationship based on shared cultural-religious histories. Most importantly, there’s common values that our nations share: freedom, liberty, democracy.

I’ve been there on numerous fronts, and I don’t think that America has a more important ally. Certainly, when you consider the volatility in the Middle East—and the situation that Israel is in and the value that Israel brings to America in terms of intelligence-gathering and overall support for that region—I think they’re an incredibly important ally. I will continue to stand in support of positive American-Israeli relations.

Q: When were you last there?

A: It’s been several years. I used to be in the technology industry, and I work for a memory component manufacturer, Micron Technology, which is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the world. We had some technical partners in Israel, and I know Intel has a large facility there. I’ve also been on a biblical tour through the region.

Q: Do you mind elaborating on the biblical tour?

A: I’m an evangelical Christian, so part of my interest on that front is to be able to see and understand better the history firsthand, and the role that the nation has played in history, in my faith, and something that is a personal interest as well.

Q: What’s your reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that troops will leave Syria?

A: I don’t know the ramifications of that. If you give me a little time after being sworn in, where I can understand some of the deep ramifications, then I’d be better equipped to answer that question. I would like to hear what Israel’s response is to that, and that will tell me a lot.

Q: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he talked to Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Netanyahu said that it’s “America’s decision.”

A: Sounds like a tentative response there. I simply don’t know the ramifications of [a withdrawal].

Q: What’s your reaction to some of the anti-Israel verbiage coming from fellow new Democrats Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

A: I never fully understood the whole reason behind anti-Semitism. It’s clearly being a factor throughout the course of history, but why are the Jewish people being singled out on that front? Anytime that takes place, frankly, it just needs to be stopped, and by the way, that’s not just unique to the Jewish people. If someone has a bias or discrimination against anyone, I think it’s dangerous. The fact that it has manifested itself over time to be more prolific with the Jewish people is something I don’t fully understand. There’s just no room for that in society.

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