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. Conservative


    September 5, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. TIm

    I object! Now that God is mentioned, I implore that there be an inclusion of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy in there as well. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

    September 5, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. Jennifer

    This is about the most committed Obama has been with Israel. Can't wait until we have a new president. Good bye Barack!!!!

    September 5, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Wade

    Party leaders, despite a divided crowd at the Democratic convention, push through a vote to restore references to God and Jerusalem to the party's official platform after criticism the references in the 2008 platform had been dropped. How can you trust people that are afraid to let PRO life Democrats be heard, can't decide if they want to acknowledge GOD or not or that Israel is our friend. If democrats are atheist it is OK but then be honest about it.

    September 5, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. Transcending

    It is sad when a party is scared to mention God to appease their loud mouth atheist.

    September 5, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. T Lang

    Why is Israels happiness the focal point of our National Politics? This country has double alleigence issues. Recommit to the National Security of the USA. We cannot hitch ourselves to destructive Israel. They will take us down with them.

    September 5, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Conservative

    Obama once again saying whatever he doesn't mean to get elected...

    September 5, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. lct1119

    Ummmm, what does Isreal have to do with the electionin the US unless to continue to suck up american $$$$ while they harass the Palestineans? They do not have a clean slate as much as they take the high road of being the most persecuted.

    September 5, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Shawn

    You are all so dense. This has nothing to do with religion, its all geo politics. Israel is a strong ally in a region of the world that hates us more than ever. Many Americans feel, rightly so, that if we distance ourselves from this country we will lose our politcal pull in that area.

    September 5, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Don in Auburn

    Let's see if I have this right. The Democratic President never read his party's platform before they adopted it. Kind of like none of the Democratic congressional leadership read the health care law before forcing through a vote on it in the dead of night on a holiday. Now they jam through a 2/3 *voice vote* during the convention. Did they get 2/3? 3/6? 1/2? How would they know and who cares? The leadership said it would pass so they "heard" an acclimation. Of course they did. It would be funny except they want to run the country the same way. Top down decisions. As Stalin said, "Its not who votes that counts, it is who counts the votes." Acclimation? Really?

    September 5, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  11. joe

    Ron Paul

    September 5, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. Joe

    I suppose 20 years ago there was 10 God References, and it got wittled down to 1 as a token. Then the leadership figured, heck lets just be done with it. Poof – God does not exist

    September 5, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. William j Allison

    Founding fathers of this country didn't want god in the equation, hence separation of church & state.

    September 5, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. mcp123

    "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!"

    At least Ted didn't spend tens of millions in taxpayer money to buy companies presence in Ohio...

    September 5, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. J Talhouk

    Both parties differ; but they agree on smashing the Arabs. Arab Americans: Wise out. Your rights are always sacrifiesed. YALLA VOTE any way, maybe we will be counted some time.

    September 5, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. DC

    Once again President Obama displayed his hands off approach in conducting political business which led to underlings mismanaging the Party's platform. At least the President was smart enough to step in and fix this mistake but not until the damage had been done. Love or hate Mitt Romney, he has not been successful because he let others take the wheel of the venture he was leading.

    September 5, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Don't understand

    Why were people saying no to this amendment?

    September 5, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. liberal disease

    liberals are a sad lot

    September 5, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Texas GOP

    I'm GOP but I think Obama was right of this call. Tea Party Proud.

    September 5, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. Surfdog

    Big plastic surgery for Nanci Pelosi? She looks jacked on coffee and prescription drugs.

    September 5, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. Hindu

    Obama's divisive tactics boomerang and hit his own DNC with divisions ...

    September 5, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. psychicstalker

    This CNN article does not tell us WHY the language about Jerusalem and God, etc. was left out this year on the DNC platform. I believe it was left out on purpose to get the Republicans to make a big deal out of it so no one will be surprised when this issue is later seen as a dramatic prelude for events and decisions that will be made while Obama is still in office and before the November 2012 regarding the security of Israel. My guess is that we are going to be in a conflict with Iran before November and the Republicans won't have any room to complain because they made a big deal about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel being left out of the initial DNC 2012 platform.

    September 5, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. Valentine

    OMG ,,,, America wake up,,,what are you doing to your self,,

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

    What if I wanted to say AYE to God and NO to Jerusalem? Was that an option in the voice vote?

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

    What exactly was the "chaos" CNN is referring to? Reading this article gave me a headache.

    September 5, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
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