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. Cobra1

    No wait!.......insert the GIANT FROM JACK AND THE BEAN STOCK!!!!!!!!!.......Arrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhh!.....oh wait..........that's a fairy tale.........doh!....don't insert that.......let's all murder each other over nonsense instead

    September 5, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Edie

    I think you are manufacturing controversy on the "God" and "faith" issue. What's the difference? Both words imply a faith in something bigger than ourselves. Faith is faith – whether in a god or in whatever.

    September 5, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Jim

    As much as I disagree with the nuts that have taken over the Republican party, they are so much better organized than the Democrats.

    September 5, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. dark poet

    Yes, the media down played all the Arab Republicans Ron Paul brought in.

    FACT: There are more Muslim Libertarians and Republicans currently then Muslim Democrats!

    This goes to show how Obama has lost his Muslim following since being elected. His multiple statements about Jerusalem have came to bite him in the butt......... TIME TO PICK A SIDE OBAMA...... and stop pandering about "Republican" hate when you yourself have been stabbing Muslims in the back for the last 4 years!

    September 5, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  5. Al

    Relax folks. They are only joking about the God stuff.

    September 5, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. American

    Get religion OUT of politics. Tell us what you're going to do to make the country better for myself and the 300+ million other citizens. I don't want to hear about your god, your spiritual beliefs, etc.

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. Free Speech

    No matter what we do or believe in, unfortunately the USA foreign policy will still screw Muslim religion. All Muslims must become more educated, intelligent and participate in the USA politics to reverse this screwiness.

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Reality99

    Civil war between the Democrats and the American people. No wonder Democrats have lost so many seats since Americans learned what they're all about with the fraudulent 2008 scam election.

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. Michael

    I despise evangelicals and all of their drivel to the degree that I am inclined to vote democrat just to counter their vile poison. This is enough to make me vote for a third part candidate. I would rather vote for something I want but not get it than vote for something I don't want and get it.

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. Sellouts

    How much did you guys get paid to put that at the top of the front page?

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. wordsdontmatter

    russian girls and the ex soviet union eastern euro girls are hot? why would we not want that?

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Michael B. Roland

    Modify the platform to include reference to Occupied Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and instead of God, refer to the God of Abraham, and then we ensure inclusion of the three monotheastic religions. If you dig Buddah, Cows, or Trees, you need to wait for further reform.

    Best regards,

    Michael
    Society for the Liberation of Palestine

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. Sanity

    WHAT?! that was 50/50!
    Noway that was 2/3 in favor. Ya'll got steam-rolllllllled.

    September 5, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. chris

    Just lost my vote.

    September 5, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Depressing that at this day and age we are still arguing over Gods....pitiful, just damn pitiful!!

    September 5, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Priceless

    For a party that prides itself on equality and tolerance, they sure don't walk the walk. Grown children showing their binary consciousness. They sure talk the talk though. Priceless.

    September 5, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. Dennis

    Dem's get it together, Seperation of church and state. Stop pandering to the right wing crazies.

    September 5, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  18. Michelle'sGreasyPurpleTaint

    I think those were the same voting protocols that gave us ObamaCare. Nice to see unity within the Democratic Party. All you whiny liberals can look back to this (and several thousand other moments like it) when you are licking your wounds and wondering how you lost come early November. Bye bye Barry.

    September 5, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. antibarry

    My oh my, things are not going well. The Nation is watching this...

    September 5, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Hindu

    Liberals, LGBTs and Atheists looking for God's blessings in order to get elected ... Wonderful! Who would have thought?

    September 5, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Mario

    It was incredibly stupid to leave out "god" in the party platform and then have a confusing vote on whether to include it. There are Democrats who are atheist, not all but some so what was to be expected? Whoever made this incredibly stupid decision should be fired. People who are religious need to stop acting like the rest of the world owes it to them to bow down and believe what they believe. Freedom of and from religion means I get to decide for myself if I want to be involved in religion. It's my choice not yours.

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. Alyssa

    Okay, that's it. Watching MSNB's convention coverage from now on. They mentioned the platform and then MOVED ON.

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. Togo

    Seriously? Let's invent a crisis much?

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Was I the only one to see Clint Eastwood new movie advertised during the DNC convention on ABC last night. All I can say is let the money mind games begin!!

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. maltytasker

    What this was, was an uncertainty on the part of the Democrats on how to treat two politically inflammable issues. Frankly, I think they blew it. I don't think it actually reflects their views on God and Israel, but I'm sure the GOP will blow it up in order to incite both Christians and Jews against Obama and Democrats.

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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