By Michael Burg
Mitt Romney, the presumptive presidential candidate for the Republican Party told a conference of donors over the weekend in Utah that he is given briefings about the goings on in the Middle East by officials from the Israeli government. He said the briefings have come from Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador in the U.S., and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. An official from Israel said Oren briefed Romney and that Romney had outlined what his position was on issues in the Middle East and with Israel.
At the weekend conference of campaign donors, there was estimated to be around 50 people of the 700 who were Jewish. Romney stopped by a session at the conference that was discussing Israel-U.S. relations and he said he had just received a briefing from Oren about what was happening in Syria, the efforts to try to isolate Iran and the Egyptian elections.
He also said he has had a number of conversations with officials from Israel in order to remain up to date about what is happening in the region. He did not mention any names of officials he had spoken with or when the different conversations had taken place.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has said that briefings like the ones Romney is referring to are not uncommon, once a clear candidate from a major party is determined. A number of months ago a report from the New York Times said that Benjamin Netanyahu the Israeli Prime Minister and Romney were good friends that dated back to the time Netanyahu lived in the states and worked at Boston Consulting Group with Romney.
The report said that from 2003-2007 when Romney was Massachusetts Governor, Netanyahu advised him on ways to cut the government of the state. Apparently, when Netanyahu tried to persuade pension funds in the U.S. to withdraw from businesses linked to Iran, the ex-Governor of Massachusetts told him the U.S. officials he needed to speak with.