Romney: My First Visit as U.S. President Would Be to the Jewish State of Israel

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says in a conference hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition that the bonds between Israel and the U.S. are 'unshakable.'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out at President Obama's policy toward Israel on Wednesday, saying all he has done is "chastise Israel" while saying nothing about Hamas "and thousands of rockets fired at Israel."

Speaking at the Presidential Candidates Forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, the former Massachusetts governor was introduced as "the next President of the U.S." - to applause.

Mitt Romney
Republican candidate Mitt Romney speaking in Florida on Nov. 29, 2011Reuters

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"I want the world to know that the bonds between the U.S. and Israel are unshakable," he said. "I wouldn't meet with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. He should be excluded from the diplomatic community and indicted for incitement of genocide."

Referring to the Iranian nuclear program, Romney said that on his watch, "Iran's Ayatollahs won't be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons. Our friends should never doubt we'll stand by them in their hour of need; our enemies should never question our resolve."

Republicans have complained that the Obama administration has favored the Palestinians over traditional U.S. ally Israel in the long-running Middle East dispute.

Obama angered the Israelis last May when he embraced a goal long sought by the Palestinians: that the state they seek in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip should largely be drawn along lines that existed before the 1967 war in which Israel captured those territories and East Jerusalem.

The Republican Jewish conference is to hear from all the major Republican candidates seeking the 2012 nomination, including surging Romney rival Newt Gingrich.