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."

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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. magnum12

    Libs will pretend they believe in God and like Israel in order to get more votes. Who would have thought?

    September 5, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. tokencpde

    So I get to choose between worthless religous influences or absolute religous nutcases? This country needs a 3rd party NOW.

    September 5, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. southernsugar

    I'm not an anti-semite, but we need the money here, at home. Why do we support them, anyway?

    September 5, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. Reality99

    Democrats BOOED when their leaders put the references to God back into their fraudulent platform due to the American people's outrage. No wonder American voters rejected Democrats by the largest landslide in history in the last national elections in 2010.

    September 5, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Walter

    Oh those laughable libs. Spin baby, spin. What an absolute mess. I love it.

    September 5, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Swej

    It's obviously not part of the platform because there is obviously disagreement over it. What's the big deal?

    I don't think they should have voted in this way, but since they did, they should at least admin the amendment did NOT pass with 2/3 vote.

    September 5, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Reality99

    "The truth is the public doesn't really know or care what is in the party platforms."

    Must be why Democrats were in a panic and desperate to get it changed.

    September 5, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. RudyG

    Why is CNN not commenting about the First Lady's statement that "money is not important to Barack, only how satisfied he is with helping people."?
    That speaks volumes, and illustrates why the economy is going to hell. I have news for the First Lady – money IS important! If we keep overspending they will not be able to help ANYONE!! And, we'll be a third world nation.

    September 5, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Sane Person

    Should include Santa Claus and Godzilla too.

    September 5, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Do we live in America, or do we not? Why are we spending all this time talking about religion in relation to government? Read your first amendment, people.

    September 5, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |


    September 5, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. Keep us all on our heels...

    As an athiest, I could care less about someone believing in a god or what faith they are. But let me make it clear, that as a supporter of Obama, I can't believe the Arab-Americans and Christians just lost the election for him. What a dumb move.. now we are stuck with something none of us wanted...Mitt as President.

    September 5, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. DC

    I see the Zionist wing of the DNC is well intact...

    September 5, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. James1114

    Yawn. This is not newsworthy.

    September 5, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. Bob

    I never heard God booed before.

    And if it wasn't God those hippies were booing, they were booing Israel.... Take your pick.

    September 5, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    It's OK for us to grow up as a species.....Really it is!

    September 5, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. zapper

    The platform was drafted by a few individuals. Now it has been amended to reflect the majority of the party. Why is that so hard for you right-wing and left-wing ideologues to understand?

    September 5, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  18. Mike

    The Isrealis seem to be under the impression that their capital is Tel Aviv. Some Americans seem to be under the impression that some other country's choice of capital city is their concern.

    September 5, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  19. reldra

    The whole thing was silly and an embarassment to my party, 1) The capitol of of the Israeli state should not play a part in this election. The Israeli peple want that city to be their capitol, it is fine with me.But I am not needing to campaign for it anytime soon. 2) The removal of the word GOD is of no significance. The words faith, religion, religious and clergy are in the platform. Does that not cover it all? Some people do not believe in a deity named God. This is a political convention, not a christian ministry.

    September 5, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. Dan in FL

    So why do we care where another country's capital is located? It's none of our business – that would be the conservative point of view. Oops! I forgot, neither party is really conservative.

    September 5, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  21. danny

    I personally find it appalling that such amendments were introduced. I am an atheist and I am critical of Israel. I understand people believe in God and i support their right to do so, however, i also believe in separation of church and state and i believe God should play no role in government. It saddens me to see that Government is still influence by religious thought. As to Israel, I am not an anti-semi (Jewish and Palestinians are both semitic people) so simply because i criticize Israel's policyies, it does not mean that I am anti-semi.

    September 5, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  22. glorydays

    It was stunningly embarrassing to the party in how undemocratic the decision was.

    September 5, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. High Way

    I wonder if the ordained methodist minister is a Republican disguised in a Democrat. Sure had a sense of timing. The polls results are so close the Democrats don't need someone stupidly throwing a wrench in the gears at the convention.

    September 5, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. Jimbo

    Obvious that the Jewish influence still predominates. Shalom!

    September 5, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Dave

    I was disappointed to see this vote. It sounded pretty equal to me from the volume of the ayes and nays. They should have had an actual tally somehow, it seems to me. I don't know how those things are usually done, but this didn't seem right. .

    September 5, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
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