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. Norma Williams

    Much ado about nothing. It's been in the party platform before, a mistake to have removed it and so they corrected it. A little controvery is good. It's also good to see that unlike the zombies roaming around Tampa last week, the Dems are alive, well and kicking, even when they disagree. I like a party that won't always goose-step together on all issues. That's what makes for a healthy party and a healthy democracy. Otherwise you have Fascism, which is what the GOP/TP, the Party of No, is selling and marching to. OBAMA 2012!

    September 5, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. daniel

    Wow! Gonna be hard to spin this one, however, i have no doubt you will give you your best shot cnn.

    September 5, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. grams09

    I wonder who threatened to pull their support after the dems kicked out God and Jerusalem yesterday?

    September 5, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. raul

    after this mess im not voting obama .. seperation of church and state.. ive voted democrat entire life since 1992.. since when was this about israel and god?

    September 5, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Hindu

    did you hear the voice vote? sounded like equal strength on both sides. now the division is out in the open. what a bad idea? it not only shows a divided house but also pandering to AIPAC was well as to polls showing God is important to voters. no principled leadership, only pandering and following the polls is all i see. 100% BEHIND ROMNEY NOW!!

    September 5, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. Hal of California

    A meaningless gesture, pure pandering, no different from previous toothless Democratic and Republican planks on Jerusalem for as many years as I can remember. The real 500-kilogram gorilla in the Middle East is the possibility of a nuclear Iran, whose apocolyptic mullahs would pose a threat not just to Israel but to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt.

    September 5, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. gaucho420

    You got to love the games they play. Style over substance, and that goes for the GOP as well. Its amazing too how many people publically love god, but in private, truly could care less.

    September 5, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. John Tucker

    Bad Idea – sell out to foreign intrests like the repubnlicans.

    September 5, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. Great Conservative

    THIS IS UNEXCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Let's AGAIN have a figth about religion, your ficticius friend in the sky and how he wants Jerusalem to be capital of Israel again. And most importantly, how you "think" this friend TOLD you all this.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. 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.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Daniel

    The media thought the DNC would go smoothly with no division like the Paulites caused at the RNC. Guess that didn't happen.

    What happened to the criticism of declaring Jerusalem the capitol of Isreal. Just a month ago Mitt Romney was being criticized up and down by the US Media about referring to Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel when he visited there. It was supposedly one of his great big gaffes in foreign policy. Now the the democrats do the same it was just a mistake that should have been on there from the begging.

    The hypocrisy is astounding.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. FK

    Mr. President, why is it so important for you to play the trumpet of GOD at the convention? I thought you believed in the separation of Church and State. Very disappointed.....

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. Jamshed

    Ahh, yes. American politics at its finest. Who cares about Jews? Just get their money. Even if it means voicing support for policies that are detrimental to them.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. Lou50

    what did they expect in the Bible Belt. Those people have morale values not the dirt bag democrats with their hand out. They work for a living! Bring it on!

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. moviestar

    This Administration will do anything to win. I think more voters are on to your disingenuious lying ways than you think. Goodluck in November you will need it this time........G.C.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. A Woman

    Religion is the root of all evil!

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. JoeBlow

    Well, you lost my vote, tards.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Hindu

    poor arab-americans, they probably now realize that both parties are in pockets of the jewish lobby that also controls the wall street and all money. haha!

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. 22X Richer

    Right winger here and I firmly believe you do not change your platform to pander to a few who think this non-issue was an issue.

    September 5, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. gadzooks

    how about we work on the capitol of the United States for awhile, it's a mess

    September 5, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. James Bond

    WHO is checking CNN? what a bunch of nonesense. CNN obviously has decided to follow the ignorant masses. Where is the comprehensive coverage of news???? It's obvious CNN has decided to join the republican ticket, no wonder they were getting drunk with them at their convention. CNN has finally gone down the drain.....

    September 5, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. Robert

    Religion has no place in politics.

    September 5, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Bleedingheart

    Was it Will Rogers who said America has the finest politicians money can buy? Whoever said it sure knew what they were talking about.

    September 5, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. weeee

    just me or does the place look empty

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. ImAVoter

    One thing I've noticed, after having voted Obama in 2008.. Is that the Democrats lie, and the Republicans lie. But only one party bases their entire campaign for votes on lies and half-truths. The Democrats. They rely on fools. I will not be making the same mistake again. Romney has shown substance via policies, and he has not used half-truths and outright lies or name calling for his entire campaign the way the democrats are doing. Romney's substance has won my vote. End of story.

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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