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. Sue

    CNN, are you desperate for some breaking news? This happened earlier and it wasn't that big of a deal. However, one more reason I am disappointed with the Democrats. They are pandering to Israel and the religious zealots or should I say the media.

    September 5, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. lizzyrn

    This is why many people complain about the Democrats not having a backbone. If they will not stand firm with their own platform, will they stand firm in other matters?

    September 5, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Unknown

    Really who should be determining the status of Jerusalem is an issue between the Israelis and Palestinians. Not the United States.

    September 5, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Damie

    Leave it to the religious folk to cause trouble yet again. Unless my ears deceived me, there was NOT a 2/3 affirmative vote, and the delegates who voted "nay" were shafted. Dems had a chance to win my vote again, but how can they be trusted if they shaft their own delegates????

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

    Yeah, Take God out of everything. Then He is the first one people call on when a supercell tornado, or some other natural or man made disaster takes place Every knee shall bow, every tounge confess that Jeuus is Lord .. bow now, or bow later your choice.

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. The Dude

    Are we electing a pop or a president?

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. Ida

    The only thing this showed was the "solid" commitment of Americans towards Israel, as our politicians claim it!!

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. alexpdx

    Romney can't even agree with himself half the time.

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. TampaJoey

    Democrat platform ... "In Handouts We Trust "

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Scott in Iowa

    Yawn. Non issue.

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. conrad

    What does Jerusalem have to do with an American party platform? Is Isreal the 51st state?

    September 5, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Kingofthenet

    Sad that we have to pander to God and Israel, i guess I can understand God but WHY, Israel?

    September 5, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Surfdog

    Bunch of fakes. How do you consistently and totally disregard our founding fathers Christian beliefs, kick God out of our classrooms and courts, and then claim God when it benefits you in front of a national audience. Epitome of Hypocracy

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

    You gotta be kidding me, and they expect the rest of America to believe they can actually run a country, maybe run it into the ground and that is about it. Over the past 3.5 years they have been headed that direction with no changes only an an excellerated rate.

    September 5, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. lily

    Does anyone think that this move reflects the DNC's real views--it was done to pander-they have shown us who they are--and we believe them–As Obama's good friend Oprah says-"When someone shows you who they are,believe them".

    September 5, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Ben

    Gotta mention God to keep up with the GOP...

    September 5, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. RWENUTS

    Laughable hypocrites.

    September 5, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. lily

    Does anyone think that this move reflects the DNC's real views–it was done to pander-they have shown us who they are–and we believe them–As O b a m a's good friend Oprah says-"When someone shows you who they are,believe them"

    September 5, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. DTEXUS

    Where is ACLU??????????????

    September 5, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Fig1024

    What does Israel and Jerusalem have to do with America? Why are we even wasting time arguing about it?
    Stupid.

    September 5, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. XVZ

    The definition of democrats is as follows: One who is jealous of a person more financially successful or established than his or herself and wishes to bring that person "down to get even".

    September 5, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. lily

    Does anyone think that this move reflects the DNC's real views–it was done to pander-they have shown us who they are–and we believe them–As the president's good friend Oprah says-"When someone shows you who they are,believe them"

    September 5, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. ObamaisanASS

    Typical Dems. they will try to demonize religious people yet will try to get votes anyway they can. how absurd!

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

    They can't even agree on retaining a reference to God in their platform. They need to look at their money, or perhaps take a quick course on America's founding. And they call the Republican party unstable. Gheeeze...November can't come soon enough.

    September 5, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. David

    The Republican whiners only whine about the Democrats. The biggest flip flopper, according to his own chief adviser, Eric Fernstrom, Romney is the Etch-a-Sketch candidate, who tells you in advance to don't believe what he says yesterday, today or tomorrow. When he was Governor of Massachusetts he was for abortion, for gun control, created the healthcare plan that Obama based the current plan on, and said he was more liberal than Kennedy on a few issues. The people then could see from a mile away the opportunistic candidate with no apparent core values. Now, with the extreme makeover, Romney is in his own words, 'severely conservative'. And no whining about that from his current fellow conservative voters.

    September 5, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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