September 5th, 2012
04:53 PM ET
9 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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. Jim

    CNN, this is what you and the rest of the free press are there for – to notice what is said and what is omitted, and to let us know about it in time to affect it. Because I saw it here, I, like apparently many others, emailed the DNC and now they;ve affirmed what was missing. Keep it up!

    September 5, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. helmetbreaker

    Majority rules! Not for the Democrat leadership! The voice vote clearly showed the majority didn't want God or Jerusalem forever back in! The Democrats are running scared they will lose votes! Obama intervened, not because he supports Israel, but because he could lose the Jewish vote in Florida and other swing states. Previously, last night and today, Wasserman-Schultz said the Israeli counsel told here that a Republican victory would be dangerous for Israel. The counsel adamently denied it..Wasserman-Schultz said she was misquoted..SURPRISE, bimbo, it's on tape and your caught lying again!

    September 5, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. the hukd

    lol, it was pointless text. what does that stuff mater?

    September 5, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Jason Borne

    Can you imagine 4 more would be soooo painful! How much do you think they are paying Clinton to speak tonight??? 5 million....maybe more!

    September 5, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  5. Rusty

    I don't understand why Israel is even included in these parties platforms. And I do not agree with the statement that "...god is central to the American story...". What a load of crap. This country was founded as a secular nation and should return to its roots. just pandering to the mindless religious to get votes

    September 5, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. Mike

    Stay tuned tomorrow. Obama will announce that he is a closet gay, is part native american, will make a presidential declaration that illegal aliens can vote in November, and will be issuing food stamps to all americans. That should cover all his bases.

    September 5, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Michael

    After that Sikh temple shooting, the DNC should be moving more towards INCLUSIVENESS, not pandering to the Christian Dominionist crowd. America is a nation of many faiths, not just the "Only Christianity matters... support Israel blindly!" bunch.

    Oh, and contrary to the claims of many right wingers, just because you don't support Israel by default doesn't mean that you're an anti-semite. Israel =/= Jews or vice versa. Not all Jews support Israel's political actions.

    September 5, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. bill


    September 5, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Ryan Cameron

    "what? we forgot to acknowledge santa clause, the easter bunny and the invisible flying spaghetti monster? " Idiots. I'm embarrassed to be a human today.

    September 5, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. jason

    Enough irrelevant nonsense. Just became an independant!

    September 5, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Emile_Mervin

    There was no chaos! There was disagreement and then a resolution! STOP PEDDLING LIES! Like any family, the DNC has members who share one vision, but also see some issues differently. The Republicans are no different. Does Romney agree with everything Ryan stands for? NO! So what played out at the DNC on Wednesday is what we can conclude was a healthy disagreement on an issue. Democracy allowed for dissent and then there was a resolution. UNFORTUNATELY, I cannot agree with anyone who would want to delete the name of GOD from any statement or platform. Jerusalem is thousands of miles away and is important to the Jews and Arabs, so why are Democrats getting worked up over this matter that none of them can resolve? Put God in the platform and leave Jerusalem to the peacemakers!

    September 5, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. longtooth

    I have no gripe with Israel, but I do wonder whether they would sacrifice for us the way we do for them. I don't mean the many billions we have given them over the years. I mean 9/11. We were attacked because of our support for Israel. Would they put themselves in harm's way for us? I do wonder.

    September 5, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Forrestal

    Congratulations to President Obama for intervening and reaffirming support for an important ally.

    September 5, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. jamesnyc

    Funny, I thought it was Tel Aviv. Let's worry about getting our house in order before we worry about Israel. Please.

    September 5, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. worldbarista

    If we want to be respected in international community, we have to stop intervening into other sovereign nations internal affairs. If Israel has right to exist, what about Cuba? We are not in 1962, and we are not during Cuban Missile Crisis, and the blockade should be eliminated.

    September 5, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. MS

    I wonder whether people notice it or not, but presidential candidates of the United States of America, the sole superpower, all have to seek approval from Israel. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president, has just made the pilgrimage, and he has made a public pledge that he will be even tougher against the Palestinians and Iran than Obama.”Obama will soon make this pilgrimage and make more promises to fight for Israel.

    It is not what is good for the United States which counts. One can imagine the policies that will be adopted by whichever government or president wins, and it is clear the United States cannot ignore Israel’s views when reacting to anything of concern to Israel. Today the Zionist (Israel) rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them

    September 5, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. Bob

    Lol. Fail Dems!

    What a joke they are.

    September 5, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Oski

    Screw israel and God...neither have any business in American government. Separation of church and state is the backbone of this country.

    September 5, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. TheThinker1958

    Israel is about to drag the whole US to a stupid war with Iran and they want to recognize things about Israel to show their partnership. Has everybody lose their marbles? You can't talk peace and Israel at the same time. When Israel bulldozes and kills an American and then their Justice declare the army as innocent it shows how violence is normal to them.

    September 5, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Evan K

    Please keep God out of politics. It makes me sick.

    September 5, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Beverlee


    September 5, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. Brian

    Sounds like the Democrats are pandering for the Jewish vote

    September 5, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Hollywood

    Please keep church and state separate. Politics is the wrong arena for these discussions.

    September 5, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. Ryan Cameron

    i hope they mention the easter bunny and santa clause as well. This makes me embarrassed to be human.

    September 5, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. JReeder

    Chaos???.........come on CNN you can do better than that to grab people's attention. There is disagreement, NOT chaos.

    September 5, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29