Close Bibi-rom­ney ties re­vealed

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY NATHALIE ROTH­SCHILD

THE MAN now cer­tain to be the Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nee for the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, Mitt Rom­ney, has close per­sonal links to Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Benyamin Ne­tanyahu.

Amongthede­tail­sthathaveemerged re­cently about their re­la­tion­ship in the Amer­i­can press, is the fact that, in 1976, fresh out of grad­u­ate school, they were both work­ing as cor­po­rate ad­vis­ers at the Bos­ton Con­sult­ing Group.

Ac­cord­ing to a much-dis­cussed New York Times re­port, over the past 36 years the politi­cians’ friend­ship has been “nur­tured over meals in Bos­ton, New York and Jerusalem, strength­ened by a net­work of mu­tual friends and height­ened by their con­ser­va­tive ide­olo­gies”.

“We can al­most speak in short­hand,” Mr Rom­ney told the New York Times. “We share com­mon ex­pe­ri­ences and have a per­spec­tive and un­der­pin­ning which is sim­i­lar.”

Mr Rom­ney has on sev­eral oc­ca­sions high­lighted his close ties to Mr Ne­tanyahu and has echoed the Is­raeli leader’s at­ti­tude to­wards Iran.

In De­cem­ber, Mr Rom­ney, tak­ing a dig at ri­val can­di­date Newt Gin­grich, who had con­tro­ver­sially stated that the Pales­tini­ans are an “in­vented peo­ple”, said: “Be­fore I made a state­ment of that na­ture, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Ne­tanyahu and say, ‘Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?’”

Mr Rom­ney has cham­pi­oned sev­eral of Mr Ne­tanyahu’s causes, in­clud­ing his ef­forts to per­suade pen­sion funds to di­vest from firms with ties to Iran.

In a for­eign pol­icy de­bate, broad­cast on CNN in Novem­ber last year, Mr Rom­ney said Ira­nian pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad should be in­dicted on war crimes charges, echo­ing Mr Ne­tanyahu’s stance.

Mr Rom­ney also took a hard-line ap­proach to Iran dur­ing the 2007 Her­zliya con­fer­ence, where Mr Ne­tanyahu spoke. And just weeks ago, on Su­per Tues­day, Mr Ne­tanyahu per­son­ally briefed Mr Rom­ney about Iran.

In an Oc­to­ber 2011 in­ter­view for Ne­tany a h u - f r i e n d l y I s r a e l i pa­per Is­rael Hayom, Mr Rom­ney said he would sup­port Is­raeli lead­ers in mov­ing the US em­bassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “I don’t seek to take ac­tions in­de­pen­dent of what our al­lies think is best,” he said, “and if Is­rael’s lead­ers thought that a move of that na­ture would be help­ful to their ef­forts, then that’s some­thing I’ll be in­clined to do”.

Such state­ments have led to ac­cu­sa­tions that Mr Rom­ney is will­ing to “out­source” Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy de­ci­sions, a cri­tique that is be­ing re­peated now fol­low­ing the New York Times re­port. But Is­raeli am­bas­sador to Washington, Michael Oren, protested. In a let­ter of com­plaint to the news­pa­pers, he stated: “Is­rael does not in­ter­fere in in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal af­fairs of the US — con­trary to the ar­ti­cle’s in­sin­u­a­tion — and greatly val­ues thewide,bi­par­ti­san sup­port it en­joys in Amer­ica.”

Jewish-amer­i­can hip-hop­per Drake filmed his lat­est sin­gle, HYFR, in Tem­ple Is­rael, a syn­a­gogue in Mi­ami. The video, which pur­ports to de­pict a “re-bar­mitz­vah”, has sparked con­tro­versy for its sex­u­ally-ex­plicit lyrics


Ne­tanyahu and Rom­ney

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