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. ChicagoMike

    If this isn't pandering I don't know what is. They don't even know where they stand, how can they lead from a shaky platform?

    September 5, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. Hindu

    Haha! Democ"rats" are a joke! What a divided house. I am sure their gay, atheist and arab-american voting blocs are pretty upset right now

    September 5, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. Dave

    Just shows we are still a country of scared children.

    September 5, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Cameras catch CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien reading liberal blog during debate with Romney adviser. So much for professional unbiased reporting.

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

    Haha! Democrats are a joke! What a divided house. I am sure their LGBT, atheist and arab-american voting blocs are pretty upset right now

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

    CNN nice way to make it up

    September 5, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. j

    LOL!! Awesome!!

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Ken

    John, what planet are you from as you are not from Earth. Obama has consistently delayed or scaled back any wargame planning with Israel hampering our ability to act with them in defending the area if needed. He purposefully insulted the prime minister by walking out an talks with him, leaving him to stew for several hours while he ate dinner with his famiily, then he returned when he was ready (no State leader in the US has ever done such a thing). He's linked the suffering of Palestinians with no state to the Holocust in speeches. His aids like Hillary, Axlerod, and Gibbs have sought out ways in the media to speak down about Israel and how we don't trust them or they are not doing what they should to show support for OBAMA'S plans for the mideast (acting like Israel is some dog that should obey their commands). And finally his Campaign had the wording on Jersuleum and God stripped from the 2012 plaform, only to face such internal criticism that they added back (even though Obama obviously does not believe in the statement). And to top it off Isreali diplomats have been saying Obama acts as if the Israeli's can't be trusted. Oh sure you can find a few comments from some Senior Israelis saying they are going OK. But remember those officials have to play nice, as it is US troops manning the missle defense systems in their nation. And if they insult Obama at that level, he'll simply pull ou the defense as a cost savings to the US and leave them defenseless. You'd tallk nice to if someone had a knife to your throat and dislikes you enough to potentially use it.

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    CNN, many don’t care about these small issues
    Breaking news has some meaning CNN
    Supreme court ruling on Obama care was breaking news we knew how CNN gave that news to us

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. Bill

    This is so funny! Obama is definitely pandering to the "right". Such a weak individual !!!

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. FeelingTheSqueeze

    Hahahaha!

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. ksobserver

    This is damn near enough to make me write in my vote for Mickey Mouse. Damn Democrats sucking up to jews.

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. TJ

    Better one should try to thread a camel through the eye of a needle, than a liberal enter the Kingdom of God.

    September 5, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. AngryJew

    East Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians and the capital of Israel is Tel Aviv. Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

    September 5, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Martin

    I fail to see why Israel is so important to the election process in Washington, and across America.

    Israel isn't even on the radar of almost every country in the World, but in USA, it's one of the biggest election topics out there.

    Baffles the mind.

    September 5, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. alex

    Another example of Israel flexing it's power on the USA...

    September 5, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Michael

    Just like the President reacting to Romney going to Louisiana, this move demonstrates the total lack of leadership within the Democrat party. The party platform is supposed to reflect core beliefs of those it represents; show some spine and stick to it, even if others disagree.

    September 5, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. Beverlee

    This was quite funny. Which one was what one and what one was who. They certainly didn't follow Roberts Rules on that one now did they. Tsk, tsk, tsk...

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Phil

    pretty bad when you have to vote to have God in your program.

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. JameyCarothers

    They just lost my vote!

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. packerfans

    John King of CNN support Obama because Obama paid him millions dollar in CNN. Obama s own CNN??? John King must stop cheating himself to support Obama!! He want see Obama second terms history???? John King still dishonest his job in CNN he should fired his job at CNN.. CNN is public freedon both for Rep or Dem !! that why Obama borrow debts trillions money to go Policy!! It was dishonest!!! Cheating!!!

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  22. stephen douglas

    ...awaiting moderation....I guess if you are against Israel, or you refer to a certain middle eastern religion with a word that indicates they attempt to scare the 'ell out of people by blowing themselves up, you get moderated.

    No cussing, no threats, no name calling – but I have to be moderated.

    wow...!

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  23. Rob

    wow, it's interesting to read all of the comments from you God non-believers. Soon enough you WILL know the truth that God exists...I pray for you that it is not too late for your soul. Finally, the dems do SOMETHING right.

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. I dropped my twinkie

    "They are pandering to Israel and the religious zealots"

    Do you belong to the Illinois Nazi's?

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. nolimits3333

    In other news, someone stole Mitt Romney's tax returns and is holding them for ransom

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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