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. Bill

    Dear CNN,

    More Candy Crowley, less Gloria Borger please.

    September 5, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Proud American

    How sad that the Democrats have to vote to include "GOD" in their platform

    September 5, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. cameron

    What a shame.. I cant imagine why the interests of a third country is put before our own, or even why we have references to Israel (or even God) in the political system?

    September 5, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. solomon

    WHAT a bunch of clowns, yet I'll probably still vote for this circus. They are the funniest by far.

    September 5, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Alois Saint-Martin

    Recent events in N. Ireland have led to a change of sympathies regarding Obama/Biden
    vs Romney/Ryan. ( )
    ( )
    The Longer Barack Obama is in Power, and the longer the Reagan/Bush Establishment, is Not: The further Societal Tolerance, on a Global Level, leans from the side of Right Wing, EU, Globalizationist Capitalism, in the direction of Societalist minded Revolution and Reform.
    And while 12 (?) more years of Obama/Biden, is likely to do nothing more than further Polarize an already Neurotic, American Society; The effect of long term Democratic Administration , would indeed, have a dramatic effect, in crucible Arenas like The Middle East, Eurasia, , the EU austerity Bailout Nations, ect.

    Though I. Cannot bring myself to endorse Obama/Biden, or even completely admit, Romney/Ryan would not be the Left’s (At least outside the U. S.) best opportunity to Winnow it’s Wheat, and take the Bull by the Horns; I, nonetheless feel Standing In The Way of such as renewed activism in N. Ireland and Greece, would be irresolvably contradictory. Even the Communist Party of the United States has endorsed Barack Obama ? I. Like some of what I`m hearing from the Troskyist Socialist Equality Party, ( ) Back To The Drawing Board ?

    September 5, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. Dbie

    It's been over an hour since I reported back to you that Ted Strickland hasn't been the Governor of Ohio for 2 years, yet you still haven't corrected this story.

    Come on, CNN. This is EASY STUFF to verify before you publish!

    September 5, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I never thought I would see a party named "Democratic", allow its officials to overrule the majority.

    Say goodbye to being the "Beacon of Democracy" and "American Exceptialism".

    I am not American, which I am sure a lot of readers a glad about, but if I was, I would be soooo embarrassed right now.

    September 5, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  8. Sue

    This is STILL breaking news? It lasted about 30 mins in a room of thousands, but CNN is looking for news. CNN, grow up. It happened 3 hours ago, time to move on. Maybe you should watch the floor of the House some time. That is only a few hundred people and in real chaos.

    September 5, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. April Moreno

    Who cares about religion? I do not!! I care that President Obama wins, and I am sure he will win against the party of oppression against women, science, education, and basic human rights!!!!! Obama polling 2 to 1 with Latinos, 0 with African Americans!!!

    September 5, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. rdeleys

    Atheists are the last oppressed minority in this country. I wish the Democratic Party would at least acknowledge that.

    September 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. imvotingforfacebook

    I can't wait to vote for Obama again.

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

    "Chaos" in this case equals "standard operating procedure." CNN. Fair and balanced.

    September 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |


    September 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Brett

    I think the language was fine before the change. I think it's still ok after the change. What's the Big Deal? All I will say though, is I do not have "God-given" potential. I have hard earned talent and skills that took discipline and drive to acquire, there was no "God" involved in it.

    September 5, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. NOON

    Now Obama and the liberal are trying to please the Jews after of inslult and betray in the last 4 years. Is it too late after all of these jungles ? dems committee should do the homework and checking the empty checks before doing this embarrassing things.

    September 5, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. realville

    Funny. Just another example of the lie and deceit of the far left extremists now running the Democrat party. When they realized their platform was too extreme for the majority of Americans, they turned to what they do best and included language in the platform that they really don't believe in.

    September 5, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Hindu

    Instead of trying to sincerely serve God, the democrats are trying to use God conveniently to serve them with an election victory. After having used Him, they could care less about God, as they have done for last four years - gay marriage, abortions and what not! How pathetic!

    September 5, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw Gee,
    So much confusion. No need to worry. The Tea Leaves, you like that don't you, The Tea Leaves are vary favorable for Romney.

    September 5, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  19. Marcus

    Good Lord. Israel? God? I thought this was a convention about a political party wanting to run the government. I hear this crap from nominally faithful GOPers all the time. Now the Dems are doing it? Let's keep hoping for the guy in the sky to fix everything instead of rolling up our sleeves and getting it done. This is all so stupid. How many actual, faithful, deed completing, commandment following Christians have you met? I have met exactly 4 in 35 years of life. Why all this for 1% of the population? Our Gods are money and fame, and nothing else. Argue at all and you are deluding yourself.

    September 5, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. linda schapiro


    September 5, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. Dripping with Sarcasm

    And Chuck Schumer breathes a sigh of relief!
    Not that they will do anything to move the embassy from Tel Aviv. (GOP won't either.)

    September 5, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  22. Hindu

    It is a travesty that existence of God has to be established by a "voice vote" in DNC ... Dems massive FAIL!!

    September 5, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  23. Reticuli

    Pretty stupid. It's both bending to AIPAC and admitting they intentionally removed anything in the first place. In case people forget, AIPAC people have been conficted and imprisoned for espionage against the USA.

    September 5, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  24. bellenoitr

    No big deal. God may have not been mentioned but all the speakers ended with God Bless the United States of America. And they should specify that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel because Romney made of fool of himself with that blunder.

    September 5, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. HectorLG

    This change was unneeded. It disregards all the people, like me, that are agnostic.
    Which God, anyhow? Completely backwards Mr. President.
    I'm forced to vote for the best of the two evils, instead of the best of the candidates. Politics, that's all. Don't forget the Jewish vote, and there $$ in contributions.

    September 5, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
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