"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said.

The comments came during an intimate $1 million fundraiser at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Those in attendance included casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has already donated millions to the super-PAC supporting Romney's campaign; New York Jets owner Woody Johnson; and hedge fund manager Paul Singer.

But Romney's comments drew a sharp rebuke from Palestinian leaders, who said the gap was the result of Israeli policies toward Palestine.

"What is this man doing here? Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. Isn't this racism? Israelis and Palestinians have a conflict, but they are people, they are equal, it is not a better culture or advanced culture," Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian spokesman, told The Associated Press.

"It's Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that's why Palestinians cannot realize their potential," he added.

Over the weekend, Romney drew fire from Palestinians by endorsing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and indicating that as president, he'd look into moving the embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. The eastern section of Jerusalem is one of the biggest points of contention in the Israeli-Palestinan conflict, with Palestinian leaders hoping to make it the capital of their promised state.

Romney will next travel to Poland, the final stop on his three-country foreign tour.