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. Jaina

    This is one of the most embarrassing things "my" party has done. I may not vote Republican, but I'm far, far more likely to stay home after this disgusting show of weak spinelessness.

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Stevez-Art!

    GET GOD OUT OF STATE AFFAIRS!!! It's very disappointing when our government can't keep church and state separate – which means both sides pander to weak-minded religious idiots. What a shame!

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. OpenYOUReyesAMERICA

    None of you noticed in the video, the ARABs who claim to be Americans standing up and violently signing NO against a democratic nation and the basic belief of OUR G-D in THIS nation, and not one of their dozen muslim ones.

    None of you see those two as a threat to the basic freedoms of the USA? they clearly showed their alliance with nothing a true American should stand for. They don't care about OUR G-D and faith and they do not care about our Israeli friends who are the ONLY true democracy in the middle east.

    I have visited the middle east dozens of times, and as an American born in this land I can only warn the rest of you that if we do not back up our ONLY REAL ally in the middle east, we will face some real problems in the future. There is no one in the middle east other than Israel that likes America, their hateful sentiment is in the school books, its in their faith, its in their politics IT IS INGRAINED IN EVERY ARAB, MUSLIM, ISLAMISTS PUNY BRAIN!!!

    Support Israel if you believe in freedom and democracy and if you still think Israel is the enemy I dare you to put on a t-shirt with our flag and walk in Israel then walk in lebanon and see the difference you will be shocked at how welcoming Israelis will be and how violent of a reaction you would get in any arabic nation. DONT BE FOOLED BY ANYONE SAYING WE SHOULD SUPPORT MUSLIMS. They are NOT our friends, OPEN YOUR EYES AMERICA!!!!

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. JDEVIL

    The Mayor of LA is a complete idiot, they need to say that in Spanish to understand next time.

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. MessiahNoMo

    As always, Obama has to back peddle and check the current wind shift before he does damage control and get back on the right track. If it wasn't for the criticism he got about Israel and God being omitted, he would have slithered past anyone's notice...

    We do not need such a short sighted President who has absolutely no clue of what is really important.

    He fails on all front and we need to get back to basics. If the guy fails, hire the next one.
    Why are we, the people , beating our foreheads on the wall, trying to damage control both him and his rabid VP?
    Aren't they beyond babysitting ???

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
    - Isaac Asimov

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Don

    I find it curious this language was added today as this morning FoxNews reported that the word God has not yet been mentioned at the DNC where it had been at the RNC. How timely of the Dems.

    September 5, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Sue Graft

    It IS A BIG DEAL! Do you realize the floor vote required 2/3s vote to pass, which it never got. But instead of declaring the vote to include God and Jerusalem as not passed per the floors non 2/3 majority reaction, the governor got confused because he KNEW the "Powers that be" wanted it PASSED as the criticism was hurting the party...that why he tried 3 times and then that lady official got up and said "they are gonna do what they are gonna do" meaning the Powers that be, i.e. Obama and the DNC heads are going to go thru with the passage regardless of what the floor votes. The embarrassment is of how the heads did not expect the vote to have such a non majority reaction and not pass. Thus, PANIC MODE! Which is why the official went up on stage and basically told the guy to JUST DO IT!
    Thats BAD and embarrassing!

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Brenda

    Seriously misleading and hardly chaos. The sentence referencing God was totally restructured. Why didn't you include the before and after to show what the changes were. Not even close to responsible journalism. CNN you look like TMZ. Shame on you!

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Hindu

    what are the non-believers thinking?

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. jon

    I remember when Bush said (after he left the White House of course) that he didn't take the Bible literally and laughed at it. These people just use religion to steal your vote. lol

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. Forrestal

    People used to say: never talk about religion and politics. But the knee-jerk, visceral, hostility to anything related to religion is an new development. And the anti-Israel feeling within the Democratic Party are troubling

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. Hindu

    CNN, keep deleting my perfectly OK comments. Shame on you!

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. addison

    oooooooooooooooppppppppppppppsssssssssssss..

    September 5, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. Mike

    I'm a devout believer, but I agree that this is silly. Don't invoke God when you don't mean it just to win votes. The Republicans are just as guilty of this.

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Democrats update platform with Jerusalem, God reference

    Two thirds vote in favor ??? ??? ???
    When Democrats can't even be honest with their own delegates;
    how can you trust them to be honest with the American people ???

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. Doug

    Stupid.. So now they want to make sure they have the invisible man in the sky known at this convention.. This is a learned behavior that is not needed by our elected officials.. We do not need God to tell us what is right and wrong, that should come natural to every one...

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. john

    In other news, the Secret Service is investigating the theft of copies of Romney's pre-2010 tax returns and the attempted blackmail of the Presidential candidate. The key issue, of course, is how the Secret Service could possibly investigate something that doesn't exist. Therefore, Senator Reid has just been proven to be a bold-faced liar.

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. addison

    yeah and notice the disagreement.. democrats are just losers..

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. DC

    That was the funniest thing I've ever seen on CNN. "In the opinion of the Chair 2/3 have voted...." are you kidding me what a gong show. Seriously, I've seen PTA meetings run better than this. Turn the cameras off when these idiots don't have the teleprompter on....

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Terry Vann

    Nice to see the democratic process work it's magic at the Democratic National Convention.

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. wellhellothere

    We're soooo fearful of the Jewish lobby in the US. Both parties.

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. James Taylor

    Who cares, Israel is perfectly capable of handling their own affairs. I care about the USA!!

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  24. rationalist

    Please, keep fantasy land out of policy.

    September 5, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  25. FedRed

    Barack Obama made a whole bunch of promises when he ran for president.

    And now, we see a laundry list of broken promises that have left middle-class Americans worse off under President Obama.

    23 million people are struggling to find work.
    Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty.
    And half of recent college graduates can't find work to fit their skills, or any work at all.
    This isn't the hope and change anyone voted for

    September 5, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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