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. BD

    This move was intended to render Israel a non-issue in the general election.... the dems were stupid to have drawn attention to it by removing it in the first place and almost as stupid for removing it.

    Ironically, policy towards Israel is one of the few things the Republicans actually get right. Not because its their percieved duty for religious reasons but because backing the soveriegnty of a nation that's existed for the better part of a century and is surrounded by nations that don't agree it has the right to exist is simply the right thing to do.

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

    Remember that separation of church and State thing? There's a concrete reason. No one wants someone else's belief dictating their laws.

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Schmoogalicious

    Wish the Dems would stop catering to neanderthals.

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Shire

    Oh, great. Finally grow a backbone and move forward, but no, we have to be dragged backward kicking and screaming to get a deity involved in politics and to make a call on the capital of somebody else's country. Now Dems just look divided and idiotic, like they can't take a stand, can't agree, can't make any progress at all. Well, typical Democrats. We shoot ourselves in the feet every time.

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

    Goes to show that the democratic leadership doesnt represent or care about what their people want. The politicians only serve thier own self interests......same goes for the Republicans as well.

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

    @Ken, it sounds quite a lot like how certain abortion ideas are in the party platform, but are (supposedly) not Romney's personal ideas. Only difference is, the abortion issue really matters.

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. ObjectiveGuy

    LOL!!! Dems fighting among themselves about their platform even in the convention! Implementing changes by copying the Republican platform with regard to Israel and God–priceless!!! There's leadership at its finest: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! While you're at it, why not just nominate Romney/Ryan for your president too, and save us all the cost of the November election.

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    speaking as the biggest fiscal conservative in the league, screw israel...you religious bronze agers need to catch up

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. Esther

    Wow! Why the Democrats change today? Yes they know it was a mistake all over the platform without includes Jerusalen and God. Democrats will know what is the power of god now..... I can see the bad weather force them to change the state for Mr Democrat God tomorrow por smaller place.... LOSERS!

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. The King

    I can't care less where the capital of Israel is, or if there is one at all. It's past time to purge AIPAC and their undue influence from the halls of our government.
    Dump the reference, now lets get to work.

    September 5, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. Jim

    News flash: before the election Israel preemptively attacks Iran and since we're so peas-and-carrots with Israel (they'll refer back to this affirmation), we'll lend a hand so that the Jewish vote gets cast in favor of the Democrats.

    September 5, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. lawrence wilson

    what happened to separation of church and state...oh yea keep the fear alive..in god we trust

    September 5, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. general

    as the biggest fiscal conservative in the league, screw israel..they are no ally – just leeches

    September 5, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Lamaze

    How care about such things as the capital of a small Middle Eastern country or things like "God" anyway...
    Get real please

    September 5, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. mia

    Didn't sound like 2/3rds vote to me. If you are going to change your platform, you should do it by the book and not just based on who can yell the loudest. Too bad there wasn't a true and actual vote. That would be the fair thing to do.

    September 5, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. Ozzy

    @Sue Agreed. For once it appeared that they were going to appear fair and balanced, representing all people instead of those just of their faith. Instead of a step forward, another step back.

    September 5, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. general

    as the biggest fiscal conservative in the league, get lost israel..you are no ally – just leeches

    September 5, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. doug

    i am so tired of being the worlds policemen..our own house is a total mess and yet we are set to give billion dollars to Egypt? whose new president can't keep the lights on! I liked Ron Paul on his approach to foreign policy!

    September 5, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Pooh. When is this nation ever going to outgrow the childish idiocy that is religion?

    September 5, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. TEEeff

    Regardless of the content of the vote, watch the video to see just what a sham our so called 'democracy' has become. http://youtu.be/09cEwnivdr0

    September 5, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. cab7g

    Reblogged this on City On A Hill D.C. and commented:
    Hmmm... interesting political move.... but I am glad to see these provisions placed into the Democratic platform again.

    September 5, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. john

    This only makes it worse, as the Dems look even sillier. I'm embarassed for them. There's no way they mean it either, after dropping it in the first place. Romney/Ryan 2012!

    September 5, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. Bill

    God has no place in politics. This doesn't mean I hate God, I'm just smart enough to know that our founding fathers were right to advocate for the separation of Church and State, even if today's conservatives do not.

    September 5, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. Bob

    Who cares? If you are going to insert "God", then don't forget Allah, Buddah, the Great Pumpkin and the Easter Bunny. As for Israel, why waste one more American dollar supporting them?

    September 5, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  25. stephen douglas

    Interesting...this post requires review by the moderator....why?

    You have got to be kidding. What a farce. I'm tired of hearing about poor little Israel. The reality is that they have their terrorists as well, but they hide them better than the m zlms hide their terrorists.

    I'm sick of hearing of TAXPAYER money being thrown at Israel, while at the same time being thrown at Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc., etc., etc. They in turn, use the money to buy weapons. Jets, heliocopters, rockets, guns, ammunition, and suporting parts for all these items are purchased from predomiantly U.S. weapons manufacturers.

    So, we are actually giving money away so it can be channeled into the pockets fo the arms industry.

    I say we send one more big shipment to each of these worthless countries and let them duke it out. Let them have their amageddon, or apocolypse, or whatever they want to call it and all that sand goes to the last man standing.

    Maybe then we can put BILLIONS OF AMERICAN TAXPAYER dollars back into social security, medicare, veterans' care, and other worhwhile AMERICAN INTERESTS instead of into the pockets of industrialists profiting from but world chaos.

    September 5, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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