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. Normal in NH

    Wow! This group gets more laughable every day!! True story...saw a headline yesterday "Castro speech excites DNC" or something along those lines...I actually thought, Fidel or Raul?

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Transcending

    I commend you CNN for showing the true colors of the dems, I realize you will get extensive heat for this and the dems wish this was Fox news so they could call it a lie. However now that it is in their face they can't deny it, well they probably will try to cover it up somehow. Anyway maybe CNN will have a chance to up their ratings close to Fox. Ha

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. alfranken

    I the Athiests need to decide if they want a party that is completely hostile to them or a party that is simply appeasing to the swing voters to get elected. - get a real clue.

    September 5, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. simon

    Watching all of you write about how you feel about Israel tonight has helped me make up my mind on who I now will vote for as an Independent Voter. I did not know there was so much Hate for Israel as I do now in the Democrat party. What the President did was good and right, but I will not be able to vote for him now knowing who is behind him. You should all be A shammed of yourselves.

    September 5, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. james

    This is no big deal..leave it to CNN to break out their yellow crime scene banner (breaking news)

    September 5, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Ramon F. Herrera

    What is the firggin' problem? Just allow the God believers to include God, and the rest ignore it.

    -Ramon (Non-Practicing Catholic)

    September 5, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  7. JJR

    Why can't they even get along with each other? Why do the attendees have their hands in each others pockets?

    September 5, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. MJ

    Under international law, it's illegal to proclaim Jerusalem (fully) as a part of Israel. It's an occupied territory, again, under international law.

    September 5, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  9. TheTruth

    The amendment was clearly voted down: seems like the DNC is havin trouble.

    September 5, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. fairpol

    God bless America when the Godless party is defeated.

    September 5, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. stevensb

    one never ceases to be AMAZED at the Democrats ability to shoot themselves in the foot ......... they would you know what to a you know what dream ......... and they wonder why progressives won't support the party any more
    Vote Green party 2012 ..........

    September 5, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Ramon F. Herrera

    Politically, it is a BIG mistake to insult the God believers. Some simple words can break the monopoly the GOP have in them.

    September 5, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. riabm60

    Please leave God out of politics, what a mistake.

    September 5, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Hindu

    Did anyone notice that they did not take separate voice votes on a) Jerusalem, b) God?? So anyone saying AYE had to say AYE for both God and Jerusalem. And anyone saying NO had to say NO to be both God and Jerusalem. What about those who wanted to say AYE to Jerusalem but NO to God? Or those who wanted to say NO to Jerusalem but AYE to God. LOL! What a sham! Joke! Voted for him in 2008, not voting for Obama in 2012!!

    September 5, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. Brett

    One day we will elect a secular President, and the nation and world will be better off for it.

    September 5, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. George Amaya

    I believe the US should keep being allies with Israel. It says on the dollar sign "IN GOD WE TRUST"!

    September 5, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. OnlyOne

    If the party of inclusion is to survive at all, it behooves all the included to forgo their delusional personal agendas in favor of party unity and a coherent message. Otherwise, the circular firing squad mentality will win.

    September 5, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Carlos A.

    I really don't understand why a mention to God has to be on the Democratic platform (or any other, in fact). God is a person's private business and as far as I know the American President is the president of all americans, be they budhist, islamic, hindu, christians, mormons , agnostic or whatever. Most religions believe there is only one God and that he is omnipotent and omnipresent. And I refuse to believe the (or any) God would be so small minded that he'd care more for a favourable head count in a particular church than about people behaving as they should (mainly 'don't do unto others...'). Also, I don't understand why it seems to be so important how many times an american presidents goes to church (can't God hear their faithful unless they're in a special place???). Do they go there to pray or just to be seen??? It is amazing how the faithful belittle their (one) God so much and so insistently...

    September 5, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Esther

    Ha ha ha ha great show fromo democrats convention today! They can't agree themselves!

    September 5, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Hindu

    Why were the two issues of Jerusalem and God bundled together for voice vote? Anyone? Why not separate voice or ballot for each issue? Anyone?

    September 5, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. nilla

    No mention of Osiris. Typical.

    September 5, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. IslandAtheist

    America has a God Delusion problem.

    September 5, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. OnlyOne

    "Reason": Be reasonable. Focus on those issues COMMON to us all. Take your personal "fights" elsewhere.

    September 5, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. LOL

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz think we should be "adhering to all existing agreements". Yes, because Israel is so reliable in that regard.

    September 5, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. advocatusdiaboli

    They are scared because Obama's record is not up to what they've been saying ti is. they've been polling and they are worried, once again, they pander and twist, and spin, and lie in hopes voters can be fooled this November.

    September 5, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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