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. KeninTexas

    My comments keep getting canned by the moderator. I guess you'll have to guess what I think about Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And it ain't good!

    September 5, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. xfiler93

    AWESOME!! not too many there and the ones there were not too happy about it!! classic liberalism on parade!!! LOL

    September 5, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. JeanneLH

    Of course I could fing (sic) Israel on a map... How about the rest of you?

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. Kona

    For those that want to know why we are giving money to both Israel and Egypt: Camp David Accords. I don't like it. I don't think we should be giving money to either of these countries, but it's the price of peace which is much cheaper by far than the two useless wars we've recently fought.

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. Log Cabin

    Religion will be the death of us all.

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. charli

    Lets see how much we are "there for" Israel, when the oil runs out in the Mideast My guess it will then time to relocate Israel, probably in the Midwest those fore filling Mormon prophesy.

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Bert

    Republicans unequivocally believe that rights come from God and that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that Jerusalem should be undivided. Amen

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. ktown8

    So let me get this straight, Dems don't want to mention God in their official platform or that our long-time ally's capital is Jerusalem? Congrats Dems, you must be proud. I mean, you've pretty much kicked out all family values with adopting gay marriage as an official platform, so why not go for the gusto and pull a straight-up Babylon. Bravo.

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. pensimmon

    Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. Tel Aviv is. Every country that has an embassy in Israel, has it in Tel Aviv. Who has an embassy in Jerusalem? No-one that's who. Only consulates, which is what you have in non-capital cities. Therefore there is absolutely no need to get into this just because Romney made a ludicrous comment. It's not our business anyway.

    September 5, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Oakstave

    Unfair. If they are going to include mythical beings, they should also include Goblins, Zombies, and Gremlins. It's unfair to only include a small portion of imaginary beings.

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

    Hey me in Houston. Read the bible to answer your own question. Geez there are some ignorant people out there.

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

    I cant wait for the debates when both of the nominees stand behind the podium and declare their allegiance to the United States if Israel. Both keep beating the GO TO WAR WITH IRAN drum. This has been going on for many elections now. WHY?

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

    Could it be that Sheldon Addlebrained offered a donation that was too good to turn down?

    September 5, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Joe Voter

    Disappointing. Obama will still get my vote, because the alternative is so totally unacceptable, BUT there should not be a reference to Israel or Jerusalem in the party's platform.

    September 5, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Jim

    Hey looks like the Democrats are going to let the Christians and Jews back into their parties platform as long as you promise them your votes! Watching the call on the floor, they didn't get nearly the 2/3rds need to add God and Jerusalem back in, but sounds like they knew they needed to do this to pass.n what a godless party. Shameful.

    September 5, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. pensimmon

    I'm so angry- we are supposed to have separation of church and state. So – why do we have to bring religion into this. My religion is my personal choice, and has nothing to do with how they run our country. The only thing I do wish for is integrity and honesty, and whomever wins I'm not likely to get it.

    September 5, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Ted

    Ted Strickland is the "former" governor of Ohio.

    September 5, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. Ken

    DO any of you believe this crap? I mean, Obama has told the Israelis to their face that he believes they should back down on the Jeruselum as a capital idea. And despite that being in the 2008 platform, Obama has shown no intention of agreeing with it or following it. So the Republicans called them out when they left this and the God reference out, and the Democrats went into a panic and shoved some words in, just to say "See, we like Israel and God .. so you can vote for us" to all thise people in the undecided column for which lacking this was a big negative. But the truth is out there. They left it off the platform as they see both as unneeded and unessacary. Obama acts like they don't exist in the 2008 platform. So even if they added it, it's only words to them not anything they agree with or will apply to making decisions. Don't fall for their lies, see the Dems for what they are.

    September 5, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. beachgalone

    don't care. what about the economy?

    September 5, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. walleye46

    After all the billions of dollars that we have spent on Israel, I would not care if "wording" stated that the capital was Brooklyn or Ft Lauderdale. . I believe the last 60+ years of our commitment would speak for itself.

    September 5, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Bezboz

    About 50% (including the unhappy Arab) said No and they still adopted the amendments. And they call the party "Democratic" ;)

    September 5, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Brian Emmons

    To Chris Craig,
    You forgot the Muslim nations hate israel and want the city of Jerusalem and the Muslim nations are taught that if your opponents don't submit then speak flattery to them and stab themin the back, or stick them in the neck.....Islam was invented by a man in 1200 A.D. and King David captured jebus and renamed it Jerusalem about 600 B.C. I know my dates are not exact but it is obvious that the Arabian Nations are generally sore losers and always throw childish temper tantrums, now do you see why it is a political issue?????

    September 5, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  23. drinker75

    Glad to see they are spending their time on the important stuff. No wonder the government doesn't get anything accomplished!

    September 5, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. Gary

    why do i care about Jerusalem and what pile of dirt it is the capitol of?

    September 5, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. Uriah

    Wow. Talk about pandering and flip-flopping. And how divided the room was in deciding whether or not to put these two points back into the platform. Democratic party is in big trouble.

    September 5, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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