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. Eli Cabelly

    Tel Aviv is the capitol of Israel. Can someone take a world geography lesson please?

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. USA

    Nice try CNN , you guys are trying your best to compare the fact makers in the republican convention to the fact based democratic convention

    September 5, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. tuscany590

    And obama takes credit. Liar & a hypocrite..

    September 5, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Tufayyur Aoud

    Jerusalem is NOT the capital of Israel. How dare the democrats make a statement like this when Arab/Americans have been
    supporting Mr. Obama, and the Democratic Party!!!! SHAME ON YOU!!!! WE ARAB AMERICANS WILL NOW BOYCOTT
    DEMOCRATS

    September 5, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Alan

    I hope a riot doesn't break out.

    September 5, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Karim

    Is Israel really that important to the US? Why? Israel has an insignificant GDP, has nothing but problems internal and international, why this camaraderie exists I can't figure it out.

    September 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Universal Unitarian Woman

    Adding it back in is a great move!

    Anyone who is fair minded knows that Barack Obama’s Presidency has been one of full support of Israel on all matters that impact them.

    September 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Flex

    Dems, the party of appeasement indeed, where ever the wind blows, Dems will always follow.

    September 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. bananabama

    Looks like Israel is running the Obama campaign, go figure!

    September 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. realville

    Man, I glad I'm not a Dem. They are a godless bunch of Israel haters that have to put this supportive language back into their platform because they are smart enough to recognize the harm in letting people know what they really think. A campaign is difficult enough to run without having to run it on a foundation of lies and deceit.

    September 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. Brian

    Sweet. Finally, Atheism appears to be gaining some traction.

    September 5, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Sherry

    I am a Democrat and an atheist; I do not recognize any god present or past. I also voted for Obama 4 years ago and may again. But, the platform modification to include "God" is an affront to the vast majority of atheists (democratic or otherwise) who, like me, are morally sound, patriotic, and contributing citizens. The Democratic Party stands to lose many voters now.

    September 5, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Scott in Iowa

    It's about the Electoral College, stupid. Take a close look. Romney has a HUGE uphill climb. That's just a fact, not an opinion.

    September 5, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  14. Conservative

    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 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. Mitts Rommel

    Hey drinker75, government doesn't get anything done because of your teatarded party... you know, the obstructive, do-nothing, agree-to-nothing party...

    September 5, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. my2cntsworth

    It is so hard to believe that the Democrats have conceded to the GOP. Please, Please grow a backbone! this country is supposed to be for ALL Americans; Muslim, Sihk, Buddist, Atheist, and yes Christian. This is why we need to keep the separation of church and state.The GOP is "in bed" with the evangelicals and the Dems have bowed down to them. Pathetic!!!!

    September 5, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. orlop

    I wonder what else democrats will add to their platform when the media brings to their attention vote getting items that they didn't feel the need to include before.

    September 5, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. josh

    it is sad that while the big issues are obscured by the complex details and facts which allow the republicans in particular to twist so the low information voters never get the true facts .....these foolish issues like the above get the same amount of time and concern...the biggest weakness this election year is that the dems allowed the repubs to define the conversation..one would of thought that the crash under Bush and in fact the whole Bush era would be enough objective proof of the repubs approach but the dems take the bait from the party who wears their religion and their philosphy as a badge even though the net result is to use the same big government they purport to hate to
    promote their social agenda....god and Jerusalem are great notions but not thaty important as the fundamental way we will run our country in the next years

    September 5, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Robert Emmett Zimmer

    This why I no longer consider myself a "liberal Democrat" and now consider myself a "liberal independent" and will be voting for the Green Party's Stein/Honkala ticket (because they do not run scared about what the Tea Party fanatics may say). I do not appreciate the Democratic Arab-, atheo- and agnostic-phobic newly amended platform. Strickland and his cohorts ought to be ashamed of themselves!

    September 5, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. oldesalt

    I am an independant American of English descent and I am not a supporter of the state of Israel. I have never supported the taking of land from the Palestinians after WWI via the Balfour Accord to provide a homeland for the Jews. Why is the U.S. so much in support of Israel? Have have many Jewish friends and feel they have a right to their beliefs. I just think the Palistinians got a raw deal.

    September 5, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. zoyster1

    This convention is as amateurish as the president. First, they can't fill the seats so they have to move to a smaller venue, then this happens. I always said give a liberal a gun and he'll find a way to shoot himself in the foot.

    September 5, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. jeagan1999

    OMG....this stuff is freaking HILARIOUS! This video shows the same level of cluelessness that the Obama administration has used to govern for the last 3.5 years!

    September 5, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. g

    republicans don,t have a choice isreal owns their party–thats why mitt had to go there and get the nod–dem,s say a little prayer for them–i pay my preacher to take care of my soul–i pay politicians to take care of politics,keep it that way

    September 5, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. Bill T

    The couldn't get the voice vote to two thrids, or even to a plus for the new platform, so they just rushed past it. It was a sham.

    September 5, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. marty rogers

    and this is breaking news how? lol

    September 5, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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