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. Chalice

    The Democrats new motto should be "Ignorance and Hatefulness". The ignorance is deep, destructive and frightening. The Hatefulness based on ignorance is terrifying.

    September 5, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  2. Manuel J.

    Goes to show.... Liberals do NOT believe in God!

    September 5, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. Frank

    Pandering at it's finest for both parties...how about adopting a balanced budget, fair health care and taxes and both sides forget about gay marriage, abortion.

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. the_dude

    The democrats must realize they cannot compete with jew money backing Romney. The democrats need some more jew money....c'mon jews give them your money.

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. Flex

    What a way to vote, typical Dems mind set, high on emotions and low on substance.

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Ohio

    Strickland isn't the current governor. John Kasich is the current governor. Let's just clarify that.

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. Hindu

    democrats following the polls again? pandering for votes?

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Bryn Al Akim

    Wow! I have voted for a Democrat president every year of my life except for Carter pt 2. I won't be able to vote this year as the party has been yanked too hard left. Simple additions to the platform cause this? Our once great party has embraced the far left way too much. No way we win in November.

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  9. Alan

    The Democrats are anti-religion (except the religion of government), party of perverted activity, and party of anti work and ambition except to rule over others. Obama is in the platform 141 times and will probably say I and me more times than that Thursday evening. It is all about him and government control.

    September 5, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. cgs

    Ahh, the Dems thought no one would notice. They only changed the platform because they got caught!

    September 5, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. NYOMD

    So, Democrats pander to Jeebus-freeks and Israel first right-wingers. How are they different than the Republicans again?

    September 5, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. toddquinn

    I think we've officially crossed a boundary when the state of another countries capital becomes part of our presidential election process! Can we PLEASE worry about the folks at home and for once keep our nose out of other people's business!?

    September 5, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. zoyster1

    Dems must be so proud. Check out the Arab guy yelling "no" as loud as he can. Yeah, you libs are model citizens.

    September 5, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Why would so many dems boo the change? anti semites in the party?

    me thinks obama caved but that he really wanted to omit jerusalem...the man is just such an opportunist....

    September 5, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. Dan

    Great, more bowing to the religious wackos....

    September 5, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. helmetbreaker

    The noise level on the convention floor clearly showed that the majority did not want God and Jerusalem as the capital now and forever, back in! Obama panicked and wanted it back in for fear of losing votes, not because he supports Israel wholeheartedly! Earlier the blond bimbo, Wasserman-Schultz, told reporters that the Israeli consel told her a Republican victory would be dangerous for Israel. Of course, that didn't happen and when confronted, Wasserman-Schultz said she was misquoted! Surprise, it's on tape! and Wasserman-Schultz was Caught in a second lie! Apparently, she didn't learn from her interview with Anderson Cooper when he told her she was distorting the truth!

    September 5, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. whatever

    When our politics have become this petty, its time for a new system. Forget Dems and Repubs.....vote Gary Johnson 2012.

    September 5, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. Steve

    Except Ted Strickland hasnt been Governor of Ohio for two years now...

    September 5, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. New Orleans

    "LA OFFICIALS CLOSE 12 MILES OF COASTLINE AFTER ISAAC WASHES UP TAR BALLS, OIL FROM BP SPILL HOTSPOT" -Today's Time Picayune (nola dot com)

    September 5, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. dsmith

    ?

    September 5, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. Vatsi

    LOL... NO mention by this "News Organization" that the voice vote at BEST was 50/50, more like 60/40 AGAINST doing it. He did it anyway. That's the democrates for you, the Government always knows best, your vote doesn't matter!

    September 5, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    isreal under bebe is a hot mess.his previous and current treats the palenstinians like trash

    September 5, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. ICStupidppl

    How can Jews who only represent 2% of the American population dominate our politics? I'm not saying this to be racist but when 15% of your population is black and 18% hispanic, how in the hell can such a small minority exert such a ridiculous amount of control and have so many government seats?

    What difference does it make to 98% of Americans if Israel were to be over run by Iranians. Absolutely nothing. In fact just maybe the region would have 1 less thing to hate. Seriously, follow Sheldon's proposal from Big Bang Theory and move them all into the Arizona desert and make them Americans officially and make this crap go away.

    September 5, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. Cee

    Utterly disgusting! These conventions are a waste of money. These party groups ought to know, you can't buy out people who have been suffering in the past 4 years. It has been bad enough during Bush 2, must we all go down even deeper?

    September 5, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Magic mike

    This is the reason our country is in the shape it is. Worry about meaningless crap and blow smoke about real issues. Make political parties illegal

    September 5, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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