Speaking at a $4 million breakfast fundraiser at a New York hotel, the presidential candidate urged Obama to meet with Netanyahu on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly session.
- Romney slams Obama over 'failure' on Iran issue
US official: Nuclear bomb is our red line
No time for Netanyahu – Obama's doing Letterman
"This is our closest ally and best friend in the Middle East," Romney said. "It stands between a nuclear Iran in some respects and a region that would have more stability without a nuclear Iran. And yet when the prime minister of Israel says, `I'm going to be in New York. Can we meet?' And the president says, `No, I'm too busy,' I can't imagine that circumstance.
"I don't know what the president is trying to send to the world in terms of a message but it does send a message."
The White House has denied snubbing Netanyahu, citing scheduling conflicts as the reason the two leaders cannot meet. Obama spoke with Netanyahu by phone for an hour earlier this week.
While Netanyahu and Obama have a chilly relationship, the prime minister welcomed Romney with open arms when the Republican visited Israel in July. The visit had all the trappings of a tour by a sitting head of state, with a joint news conference, policy briefings and meetings between aides to the top Israeli leader and the Romney supporters and donors who also came to Jerusalem during Romney's trip.
Netanyahu is trying to force the United States to commit to quick military action against Iran over Tehran's nuclear program. The Islamic Republic insists it only wants to develop the capability for nuclear power generation and medical research. The US, Israel and most Western allies contend Iran is working on a nuclear weapon.
Romney's comments at the fundraiser, where 900 donors spent from $2,500-$25,000 for tickets, were his first on the matter.
'Israel treated with indifference'
Later Friday, as demonstrations targeting US embassies in the Arab world continued to spread, Romney's running mate drove home the argument that Obama was conducting an apologetic and weak foreign policy.
"American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose," Rep. Paul Ryan said in a speech at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington.
"Look across that region today, and what do we see?" Ryan asked. "The slaughter of brave dissidents in Syria. Mobs storming American embassies and consulates. Iran four years closer to gaining a nuclear weapon. Israel, our best ally in the region, treated with indifference bordering on contempt by the Obama administration."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop