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. Raka

    I'm pretty sure the nays had it.

    September 5, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Destroy and humiliate the democrats

    F the demorat party, looks like you are going to spilt.. This is the begging of the end for you, you will go the way of the whig party except you won't be allowed to go silently into the night. We are going to crush, conquer, humiliate and step all over you demoRATS before we ultimately wipe you out. The left wing media, CNN being one of the leaders of it will also be punished and taken off the air indefinitely.

    September 5, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Michael

    After that Sikh temple shooting, the DNC should be moving more towards INCLUSIVENESS, not sucking up to the Christian Dominionist crowd. America is a nation of many faiths, not just the "Only Christianity matters... support Israel blindly!" bunch.

    September 5, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Hindu

    pandering? flip-flopping? following polls? lacking leadership? all of the above?

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

    Ted Strickland has not been Governor of Ohio since January, 2011. It should read "former Governor". Jeez.......

    September 5, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. David

    Really?! Stop pandering to Israel, our prisons are filled with their spies.

    September 5, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. Fred Washington

    No.. Really?

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. True Colors

    To all you Dems who have a problem with God, next time you take out a dollar bill read what it says in the back "IN GOD WE TRUST" If its good enough to put on the money its good enough for your platform. You as a part of people should be utterly ashamed of yourselves and your candidate. Gos is part of America, get over it!

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Lou50

    apparently the stock market is thru the roof today after Michelle's speech. we are on easy times now!

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  10. Sam A.

    I was wondering when the kosher rim job was going to begin.

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. RapidOne

    anoel2005 sold his own mom in order to give money to his masters, the Republicans.

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  12. caesarbc

    They are buying into Republican media hype tactics. They should have remained steadfast.
    If every black person in America voted more than once, he would win, and they could not be prosecuted.

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. David

    Democts are emotionally driven immuture people. No surprize here..

    September 5, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. LCSWquilter

    The truth is the public doesn't really know or care what is in the party platforms.

    September 5, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. True Colors

    To all you Dems who have a problem with God, next time you take out a dollar bill read what it says in the back "IN GOD WE TRUST" If its good enough to put on the money its good enough for your platform. You as a part of people should be utterly ashamed of yourselves and your candidate. GOD is part of America, get over it!

    September 5, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. Tom

    Really, Sue? The Democrats are pandering for keeping language that the vast majority of Americans are in favor of? Perhaps you're just upset that they are not pandering to extreme leftists?

    September 5, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Forrestal

    "It sickes me to still include religious references to goverment" This isn't government, it's politics

    September 5, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. PTBarnumboy

    Chaos??? A bit of over statement I think.

    September 5, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. samikep

    No matter what happens tonight and tomorrow, this is what will be talked about going forward. The Democrats made a bad call to cast this vote, they are not in agreement with the people they represent and even when that is clear they push forward what they need to get the independent votes... Your party just sold out...

    September 5, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. True Colors

    To all you Dems who have a problem with God, next time you take out a dollar bill read what it says in the back "IN GOD WE TRUST" If its good enough to put on the money its good enough for your platform. You as a part of people should be utterly ashamed of yourselves and your candidate. GOD is part of America, get over it!!!! And get back to normalcy, this left wing dribble is disgusting,

    Next up on the heathen platform Man on Man and woman on Woman.....Disgraceful people and party of fools

    September 5, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. NudeTruth

    DNC just as wrong as the RNC, open your eyes people.

    September 5, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Betty Barton

    Please let us hear the speeches instead of listening to nonsense over the changes in the platform. I heard God mentioned many times last night. I hear speakers supporting Israel. I don't think there is a problem. Move on

    September 5, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. us_1776

    Keep Religion Out Of Politics.

    Separation of Church and State.

    .

    September 5, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  24. Matt

    CNN.com you are an embarrassment of a media outlet. Shame on you, talk about unequal coverage and trashing your own president. Nice work!

    September 5, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  25. Sam A.

    "Men will never be free until the last king (politician) is strangled with the entrails of the last priest"

    -Denis Diderot

    September 5, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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