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. Reason

    As long as humans keep believing in imaginary supernatural beings, theres gonna be a fight.

    September 5, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Erick

    Well, there goes the evangelical vote.

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. stev

    all of you can say what you want..for or against...BUT WHEN ALL THE SMOKE CLEARS...IT WILL BE OBAMA

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. tom


    last night while I was watching the Democratic convention, I was shocked and wondered in what planet are the Democrats living, because as far as I am concerned there is no jobs , our President is the worse president ever.
    As a Democratic , voter myself, this election my vote goes to the other party , the Republicans. Enough, is enough, no more lies to us."

    Very cute comment. You are clearly a republican. The economic downturn started under Bush and in case you have not heard, it is congress that controls the purse strings, not the executive branch. Expecting any president to "fix" the jobs situation shows a lack of understanding of how our economy works and what affects it.

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. zoyster1

    Go Cowboys! Ya'll let me know how Slick Willy's speech went.

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. andrew

    Neither of these issues mean jack – not right now. 1) Israel gets TONS of billions of our taxes to do what they will. 2) God could care less. 3) We need to bring offshore manufacturing back inside our borders. All else but number 3, are useless wastes of breaths. We can argue over numbers 1 and 2 until we turn blue and NOTHING happens either way as far as manufacturing good JOBS to pay the BILLS and buy FOOD!! NEITHER of these (1 or 2) make FOOD or JOBS! Don't sink down to arguing over MEANINGLESS and UNIMPORTANT things!

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. Doc v

    Isn't it ironic Jersualem is spelled JerUSAlem?

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Rude

    Will CNN halt their side interviews every 2 minutes that last several talking about who knows what issue. Why not show and cover what is happening on the damn stage....that's what CNN said they're covering? I switched to PBS for true coverage of what CNN is missing of the actual convention!

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. shep

    go to YouTube and watch "Banned Mormon Cartoon" You won't believe it

    September 5, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Aaron

    I love how Dems compare Repubs to Nazis, but their own delegates will not support Israel. I'm notbargiun for or against Israel or Palestine, just seems an odd move to compare the one group that clearly supports Jews to the group that tried to remove them fom the earth when you don't support them, either.

    September 5, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. countertrans

    really? a proud, independent nation like USA's future election is going to be determined by israel?

    September 5, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. one11one

    OK guys, we know that religion is BS but we need to throw a few bones to the Jews and Jesus freaks. Who cares if we actually believe it as long as it gets us votes!

    September 5, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  13. Ironhorse

    Democrats cant get nothing right............What a sad excuse of a party I use to hold high on a pedastal....... But this worthless President couldnt save my job or my dead brothers job so he committed suicide................Not only that Obama buried us with the Affordable Care Act. Don't believe me? Wait and see in 2014 when it is in full effect and nothing can be done about it and the American public won't have a say in repealing it at that point. Scared yet? You should be that piece of legislation is the dirt on the grave.

    September 5, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. Demorat

    Did anyone call Terminix?

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

    TEL AVIV is the Israeli capital

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. griffbos

    indeed a sad event but not going to change my vote, they guy running the vote dropped the ball, he shoul dhave just declared the yeas had it on the first vote and it would have not been so sad...........Nacny is on ...please someone pull her off the stage...................

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. 4pease

    Gee, we have some disagreement in this country. What a surprise.

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. chunk a chunk

    A: Jerusalem and God.

    Q: What are two things Americnas waste way too much time on?

    Drags on Humanity for 400, Alex.

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. jp

    Freedom of religion should mean freedom from religion. Today, I'm officially updating my voter status to independent. Republicans...Democrats...both are useless.

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Veritas

    Really really sad that in America you have to include the words god and jerusalem to be electable. Democracy?

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Adam

    I'm now inking in my Laugh Party for after Romney beats Obama. I'm going to be laughing for days and days. It's gonna be so awesome I can hardly stand it.

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. cyg

    Wow CNN was this a story that made no sense before you got ahold of it, or just after you wrote it? No one cares except the right wing wack jobs that think God came out of an oil well...

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Havoc7

    I have no problem with Jerusalem not being in the platform. The United States has never acknowledged Jerusalem as their capitol. We have our embassy in Tel Aviv. As for God? I would prefer he be left out of our politics.

    September 5, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Hysan

    OMG total chaos! Cats and dogs living together! Seriously, does CNN need to gin up drama in order to see fair and balanced? It's also not a huge shock that the Dems aren't an organized party. It's the one thing I envy about the GOP: how they can march, lockstep and arm in arm even if you know some of them hate each other.

    Now, their policies I don't admire, but you gotta admit, they stick together...mostly.

    September 5, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. Tr1Xen

    You guys crack me up! ><

    September 5, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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