September 5th, 2012
04:53 PM ET
2 years ago

Just in: Democrats update platform with Jerusalem, God reference

(CNN) - Democrats voted to update their party's platform Wednesday evening at their convention to include a reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, as well as the insertion of the word "God," neither of which was included in their platform this year but was in previous platforms.

President Barack Obama himself intervened regarding the Jerusalem language, a senior Democratic source told CNN, adding, that he thought the original draft was "a strong statement and he didn't want there to be any confusion about his unshakeable commitment to the security of state israel. The issue of the day is Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah."

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The change, proposed by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland immediately after the convention was gaveled into order on Wednesday, required a two-thirds voice vote, but was declared as adopted after three voice votes which brought delegates to their feet, shouting their yeas and nays. Democratic sources told CNN prior to the vote that it was to take place by acclamation.

"I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we've expressed in our party's platform," Strickland, who chaired the party's platform committee, read. "In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party's platform should as well. "

Read more: How the chaos went down

The 2008 platform read, "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."

That language was reinserted on Wednesday but was not included in the 2012 platform, which was released earlier this week and adopted by the party at the convention on Tuesday. The language which was added to this year's platform is slightly different from the 2008 version.

The word God, which appeared in the 2008 and 2004 platform, was not originally included in the 2012 version.

When he learned of the absence of the word God from the platform, Obama reacted by saying, "Why on earth would that have been taken out?" three Democratic sources told CNN.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement after that vote that "the platform is being amended to maintain consistency with the personal views expressed by the President and in the Democratic Party platform in 2008.

"Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths," she said. "It has been the policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be negotiated directly between the two parties, as part of discussions to achieve a two-state solution that secures the Jewish state and homeland.

"Our party platform already expresses strong support for the peace process and makes clear the steps that any Palestinian partner must take to be a part of such a process - recognizing Israel's right to exist, rejecting violence, and adhering to existing agreements," she continued.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement that they "welcome reinstatement to the Democratic platform of the language affirming Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Together, these party platforms reflect strong bipartisan support for the US – Israel relationship," the statement read.

Rep. Steve Israel, who as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee takes the lead on electing Democrats to the House of Representatives, told CNN's John Berman that "several colleagues in Congress expressed concern" about the omission.

"It has been repaired and and resolved and now we need to get on to other issues," he said.

Former Sen. Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat, said that "the president's record on Israel is an a plus and there is no reason to have any confusion about his commitment to the profound issues israel is confronting in terms of security."

In his convention speech Tuesday evening, Wexler said that "President Obama has bravely stood up for Israel In the international community."

Republicans had criticized Democrats over the changes, and after the vote, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea saul said that the GOP presidential candidate "has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

"Although today's voice vote at the Democratic National Convention was unclear, the Democratic Party has acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Obama has repeatedly refused to say the same himself," she charged. "Now is the time for President Obama to state in unequivocal terms whether or not he believes Jerusalem is Israel's capital."

Earlier on Wednesday, Romney's running mate Paul Ryan said that the Democratic platform "undermines our nation's support for our ally, Israel."

– CNN's Dana Bash and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • Democratic National Convention • Israel
soundoff (707 Responses)
  1. John Doe

    What a foolish way of politically expediency

    September 5, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. DJ

    Yeah, if you don't get it right and get pressure, change it at the last minute before anyone notices. Squirrel!

    September 5, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Kris Craig

    Why don't we criticize them for not including a provision that reaffirms London as the capital of Britain? Or Paris as the capital of France? Why aren't they outraged over the lack of any mention regarding Taiwan's right to exist?

    The answer: (1) Because those countries don't spend countless millions of dollars lobbying, and (2) Because of religion.

    I wish our political candidates would stop running for President of Israel and start running for President of the United States. I want to hear them talk about their commitment to the protection of America, not Israel. They're our allies and we should back them, just as we do any other ally. But we should not be putting any other country before our own.

    September 5, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. gstover

    You have to be kidding me. The US Support of Israel is not in the wording at a convention. It is in the millions if not billions in defense funding and technology that we provide them annually. The US will NEVER stop supporting Israel regardless of whether it is truly in our nations best interest.

    September 5, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Me IN HOUSTON

    Is there anybody out there like me who could care less about Israel, thinks that quite often they play the role of the villain, thinks they are crappy allies and wonders to God in heaven why we keep giving this sovereign nation our hard earned money?
    Anybody?

    September 5, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. david from washington state

    we are NOT isreal's puppet!

    September 5, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. anoel2005

    the Dems will sell their own sister for a vote.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    September 5, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    Next they'll give in and put in a Balloon Drop.

    Show some guts, Dems.

    just don't take Natalie Portman out of the lineup!!

    Oh, I just heard it was Natalie Portman who insisted on the Jerusalem change.
    (Sorry, Nats, I was just kidding, about that last part)

    September 5, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. bb

    @Kris well said

    September 5, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. LBLA

    So is God going back in as well?

    September 5, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Tom Shannon

    Could somebody please repeal those amendments this minute? This is a major betrayal to what the Democrats stand for.

    September 5, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. DENNA

    America has always been a friend to Israel. I am not sure what more we can do.

    September 5, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. FloridaMom

    Too Little. Too Late.

    September 5, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Kr55

    lol, all the people against religion and against israel came early to give the big NO? Shoulda waited until the seats were a little more full with people that can fall in line. Pretty embarrassing moment for the Democrats.

    September 5, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    COJONES Dems: Buy some, grow some, but please just get some and stop caving to the barely intellectually functional GOP play yard bullies.
    Don't you get tired of caving to these petty, sniping, deranged idiots?

    September 5, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Ed1

    As always flip flop and we will all be united what a joke this DNC is any more changes like make NC a Union State too.

    September 5, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Larry L

    Amusing the right-wing was able to tie the doomsday Evangelicals to some imaginary battle of superheroes in Israel. What a terrific way to get them to defend the billions of dollars going to Israel even when the same group wants to cut meals-on-wheels and other programs to help America's poor. It's obviously not deficit-spending when the money goes to Israel...

    September 5, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. crush

    Yesterday's speaker...Devel...told the convention it was time for democrats to grow a backbone and the crowd went nuts. What a joke. Way to cave to the Fox crowd.

    September 5, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. Bobby

    DNC establishment doing the same thing the RNC establishment did. Vote for Gary Johnson 2012.

    September 5, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. john2397

    POOR OBAMA! He has no bones to carry out his own agendas. One side is Republicans who are not allowing him to do anything meaningful economically and on the other end Republicans and Democrats; all do not want him to look beyond Israel in the middle east.

    September 5, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Why Israel?

    I wonder how many Americans could fing Israel on a map... I also wonder how's Americans would respond is a couple of powerful nations decided to carve out Alaska and declare it to be the religious and spiritual homeland of the Inuit People? They would simply take it away from the people who have lived there for generations and declare it an independent nation – like Israel. The Inuits could refer to ancient religious myths about the right of ownership – granted by their God. Should they be able to group all of the non-Inuits in well-defined areas and restrict their travel? If the non-Inuits resisted would they be called terrorists? (Yes – I'm aware the Inuit People did not practice that sort of religion and chose that example for that reason)

    September 5, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. proud conservative

    There's no need for the Dems to mention God in the platform because they're a bunch of atheists anyway.

    September 5, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. lisasc

    When Paul Begala could not win this debate with Ari Fleisher Wolf stepped in to help. No bias here at CNN

    September 5, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Wes B.

    Nobody cares about the party platform anyway. It's essentially meaningless.

    September 5, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. William j Allison

    Earlier comment is "AWAITING MODERATION". Why can't you let people say what they want without filtering or modifying the real truth?? So much for you CNN for being neutral. Just as bad as FOX NEWS IN MEDIA MANIPULATION.

    September 5, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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