Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney raised more than $1 million at a campaign fundraiser in Israel.
Over 40 donors paid between $25,000 and $50,000 apiece to attend a breakfast with Romney at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, including Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has contributed more than $20 million to Republicans and conservative super PACS so far this election cycle. The fundraiser ended Romney's visit to Israel.
Other donors included New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and hedge fund manager Paul Singer.
The Jerusalem fundraiser was Romney's second during his foreign tour. At the first event, in London, 2,500 participants paid $2,500 per person.
It has been perfectly normal and legal in the US for decades for candidates to hold fundraisers. Both President Barack Obama and Romney are aggressive courting American donors who reside outside the US. One donor told a news agency that a group of donors met with top Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advisers. He requested anonymity because the meeting was private.
At the fundraiser, Romney reiterated yesterday's remarks about the loyal duty and moral necessity of defending Israel, and went on to stress his commitment to Israel and his reservations about the Palestinians. He told the Jewish donors that their culture one was of the reasons for Israel's greater economic success compared with the Palestinians.
"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," Romney said.
In fact, the disparity is even greater: Israel's GDP per capita is $31,000 while the Palestinians' is $1,500.
Despite offering strong opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Romney did not meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen), nor did he visit the West Bank. He did have a brief meeting with Palestinian Prime Minsiter Salam Fayyad.
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