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. Anonymous

    Just what we needed....everything was going well until the Dems involve God and Jews...More ammunition for the republicans and less votes for Obama...LEAVE religion OUT of politics....

    September 5, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Bridget

    It is not chaos. It is what a convention is supposed to be.
    It is what conventions were before we turned them in to a variety show.

    September 5, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. mary

    If people truly believe that the GOP upholds good christian values, they are sadly mistaken.
    Greed is not a Christian value..

    September 5, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. DJones

    It is just plain ignorance to argue with another nation about the location of THEIR capitol. Jerusalem has always been the capitol of Israel and has never at anytime been the capitol of any other people or nation. I can't even imagine how confused and messed up an individual would have to be to take issue with the statement "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," I am glad to see the Democrats and Obama show this amount of judgement and it gives me hope that no matter who wins the elections in November that America will likely survive.

    September 5, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. Celisti

    it is good that Ted is no longer Ohio's governor, or else, he might put a God symbol on state government building. it's just pathetic!

    September 5, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. Richard

    Obama's sad, desperate attempt to salve his relationship with rich American Jews. He needs all the money he can get and they area a huge part of it.

    September 5, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Anna

    I wonder if the Big Dog insisted on this change before speaking tonight...

    September 5, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. dfeaster

    I am not thrilled about either Israel or god being included in the Democratic platform but I not offended either.

    September 5, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. karie

    RIDICULOUS CNN wastes a whole forum on this.

    September 5, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. Jeff from Columbus

    Are you serious? Putting God in the platform and merely stating Jerusalem is the capital of Israel required THREE votes because it was so close?

    That's insane – and extremely scary. Neither of these are very controversial positions. What the heck is going on with the Democratic Party??

    September 5, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Arthurrrr

    voting on whether God should be included in their party, and Jerusalem should be the capital of israel is like voting if the ocean is wet.

    September 5, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Jackie

    I am a lifelong staunch Democrat. However, I do not believe in the Christian God. Therefore I guess I do not believe in the Democrat platform. My financial support and vote is on hold.

    September 5, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. Sharkmann

    Bad acting and bad theater.This is such a contrived stunt. Where is a third party when you need one?

    September 5, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. alberto

    I am confused, which party do I vote for? The Republicans or Democrats who want to look like they are now the Republicans. Actually it would be a lot less confusing if one party called itself American Values and the other should be called The Socialists.

    September 5, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  15. Donald Duck

    The failure in the white house just needs to start sprinkling his fairy dust over the convention..TaTa everything will be ok

    The failure is a joke, the dumbos are a joke. fairy dust and mud is all the have to run on this year. What losers.

    September 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. Robert

    Not to recognize Jerusalem would be detrimental to Obama if Israel attacks Iran under his presidency.

    September 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. JP

    Insertion of the word "God," added for political gains? That is sad. Need to have the courage of conviction to include or exclude the word based on the belief systems of the party members.

    Using the word "God," for political gains is absolutely low. Instead of all glory to God, the democratic party platform has become all glory to the chief.

    September 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Medmover

    So it is over to the Green Party I go! So tired of all this crap! Let's talk jobs, let's talk economy, but enough already with things that belong in a mythology book! Also, what of the Palestinian people who have had to live in camps since 1948?

    September 5, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. Ghosts of past democrats

    too many cooks in the kitchen

    September 5, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. rand

    HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: "Instead of sending your checks to your insurance companies, your insurance companies are sending a check to you. ...If you already have health insurance you like, you can keep it."

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    The Obama administration says that about 13 million people will benefit from health insurance rebates averaging $151 per household. But the number of families actually getting a check will be much smaller, experts say.

    For one thing, employers can plow all the rebate money — including the worker's share — back into improving the company's health plan. For example, they could reduce the premium for the following year.

    Employers typically pay 82 percent of the premium for a worker, and 72 percent for a family plan.

    Most workers and their families are covered by job-based health insurance, and the new law does not stop employers from changing their plans from year to year, as they do now.


    SEBELIUS: "So instead of the Medicare guarantee, Republicans would give seniors a voucher that limits what's covered."

    THE FACTS: She left out crucial details in describing the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan. It would not apply to the nearly 50 million current Medicare recipients but to future retirees who would join the program starting in 2023. Current beneficiaries could remain in the traditional program, while new retirees would get a fixed payment from the government that could be used either to purchase a private insurance plan or a new government program modeled on traditional Medicare.

    Romney and Ryan say they have no intention of limiting medical care for seniors — only restraining the growth of costs. And traditional Medicare also has its limits. It does not cover everything. Long-term care is not covered, only limited nursing home stays. And most must seniors pay out-of-pocket for dental care unless they have private insurance that covers it. Medicare has copayments and annual deductibles, and that's also a form of limiting coverage.

    Read more on AP Factcheck: DNC Speakers Embellish Obama Record, Mislead on Romney
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    September 5, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. xcxzxzc

    I find with most democrats,they last thing they want to talk about or bring up is God. What does that alone tell you about them.

    September 5, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  22. Anna

    I don't understand why any Dems are complaining on the voice vote. After all it passed just like Obamacare... the majority of the people never wanted it.

    September 5, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. Carter

    Slow news day CNN?

    The reason there ANY confusion is because Democrats (as a group) want peace in the Holy Lands not take sides in the matter.

    September 5, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Hindu

    Felt bad for those arab-american democrats ... in that video

    September 5, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Showmetheproof

    Sad. Just because you've been told something your whole life does not make it real. There is no real scientific evidence for the proof of God. Actually, if you look it up, the higher educated one is, the more likely they are to be non-religious. Can we just leave religion out of politics, please?
    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." -Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    September 5, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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