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. No one

    There is no religious test for political office, though politics has become more of a popularity contest I guess, spurred on by news organizations that love 'BREAKING NEWS," and such.

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Dems sure know how to pull failure out of the jaws of victory. What a bone head thing to do to dampen an energized base.

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. Guest

    I just listened to the dems boo God and Jerusalem. I'm 60 yrs old and I never would have believed this could happen in this great country. Where is the respect. Do you think they would boo the Muslims like that.

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. Brian in DC

    Whenever the liberal Dems reveal their true feelings they are rejected which is why they have to resort to distraction and deceit.

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

    it's like someone getting a bad grade and then trying to edit their answers to make it look like they had the right answer, and going back to the teacher... "look, look, I had the right answer"

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. Tufayyur Aoud

    Since 1971 when I became a proud US citizen I have supported the Democratic Party even when Mr. Clinton allowed this country to become racist against its own American workers by allowing older Americans to be fired and replaced by illegal
    immigrants. When Obama was elected, I stated they will never elect a black president. I was wrong. But I am not wrong about
    the demise of this presidency and this party. I am changing immediately to an independant. Americans its time to put another
    person up to run for President as a independant. Its time to get rid of the Democratic and Republican Party that is destroying this country.

    September 5, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Correct motion and brave pass

    I applaud the DNC for passing this. It is true that this country was founded based upon Christianity and it was stated that we shall have freedom OF religion and not freedom FROM religion. Without adhering to the principles this country was founded upon we have no center, no sense of unity. The Democratic party has worked too hard to appease all minority groups whilst ignoring the majority as well as our history. Bravo DNC.

    September 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. Mark

    If only the people upset with the Republican party and those upset with the Democrat party would consider the third option Gary Johnson. It far past the time for a new party. Libertarian Party is for fiscal responsibility and social freedom.

    September 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. vince86

    Who cares?

    September 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. Mike500

    You knew it had to happen. Dems can't find their way out of a paper bag without help.

    September 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. one11one

    They are "evolving"

    September 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Elvis

    must have been concerned about losing some Jewish votes...

    September 5, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  13. Arec Barwin

    How can anyone take Barry seriously any longer. He's a joke who needs to pack up and head to Hawaii to stock up his "Libarry" with copies of himself.

    September 5, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. a disgrace but you voted for him

    this is obama's going away party!

    September 5, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  15. Guest

    don't you think it's strange that Obama didn't read the platform.

    September 5, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. Gerry Daley

    I'm getting more than a bit sick of Israel dictating American policy. I firmly believe that Israel has the right to exist as a nation, but that does not mean that the Palestinian eople do not have legitimate claims to the area as well.

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. conservative

    democrat leadership just pandered to the God vote ... wonderful! not on basis on principles but on basis of polls. where is the principled leadership?

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. Raka

    I'm pretty sure the Nays had it. No way they had 2/3rds.

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. one11one

    They are trying to evolve.

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. Rob

    Ha ha ha! The religious Left rears its ugly hypocritical head

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. Paul B. Huntington III

    i thought you liberals were all atheist?? you guys are wacked that you pray to a magick man in the sky.

    obama prays to a magick man in the sky and you moonbats want him to be president???

    please explain, moonbats

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. LWJR

    Obama asks, "Why in the world would that be taken out?" Answer: Mr. Obama, you took God out of America as soon as you started running the show. Everybody knows. WATCH THE VIDEO COMRADES, Democracy not in action.

    September 5, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. 1ofTheFallen

    Obama and the Democrats have lost 4.2 million jobs. They have to take the good with the bad. If they are going to claim we created 4.5 million jobs then Obama also has to say he lost 4.2 million jobs and only netted 300,000 total jobs 66% of which are lower paying jobs.

    Summary: Obama lost 4.2 million jobs and created 4.5 million jobs (4,500,000 – 4,200,000) = 300,000 jobs created after spending Trillions $$$ of taxpayer money.

    Too much golf and healthcare and not enough focus on the economy.

    September 5, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. CNN

    The Nays had it, no doubt.

    September 5, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. REALLY?

    Changing your platform on day 2 of your convention? How telling & embarassing! Pander City!

    Dems having been trumpeting that the GOP is not united?! Bwahahahaha!

    September 5, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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