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. randomthoughts

    It sickes me to still include religious references to goverment. Especially of Israel who has for what ever reason, been our biatch lover. I had my support to the Dems, now I will re-consider.

    September 5, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Dan

    You forgot to mention that when they said the motion passed, half of the people there booed loudly. This footage is going to play really well with undecided voters. If I was Romeny I'd run it whenever I could.

    September 5, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. time to evolve

    Can't we keep all this god nonsense out of our politics and government? I was happy that the Dems were easing up on that god rhetoric (repubs make me sick with it) but now... I'm disappointed.

    September 5, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. Matt

    Once again Israel and Jewish lobbyist in US forced their opinion to an independent nation likes US. Why we need to mention a place in foreign country in US parties?

    Is it not clear we are controlled by Israel and some Jewish radicals.

    It is shame.

    September 5, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. fred

    Sick of seeing AIPAC control American politics. Quite simply, Jerusalem is sacred to a Billion muslims, a Billion Christians and a few million Jews. Make it an international city state that belongs to no one. Unfortunately the Israelis are not a group that embraces compromise.

    September 5, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. Pebkac

    That was not what was supposed to happen. Dems, it is time to wake up to what your party stands for. For a lot of you it is not what you think.

    September 5, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  7. MagicPanties

    major fail – keep the fairy tales out of politics

    September 5, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. Keyser

    Half the democrats want to invade Canada, ...the other half wishes to surrender to Canada. Calling Sarah Palin!!!

    September 5, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. Hunchbacks

    And this is who we want to lead our country?

    September 5, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  10. grams09

    Yeah. God and Jerusalem are back in the Democratic platform after being kicked out yesterday.

    September 5, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. fire0bama

    0bama is a weasel. He does not like God and Israel. But when he saw that his poll number is dropping, he asked the DNC to put these back into their platform.

    0bama is all about fooling the voters and staying in power for himself.

    September 5, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Partyman JG

    That was not no "two-thirds" it was "even" at best. He kept trying to roll it along and he kept doubting what he heard.
    In that case – they need to actually sit down and VOTE!

    September 5, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Marzxyz

    This is turning into a genuine, retro style convention. How refreshing compared to the staged Republican snoozathon!

    September 5, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Liz in Seattle

    Ted Strickland is the FORMER governor of Ohio. He lost in the last election.

    Why, oh why Democrats? Your conventionw as goign well so far. It was looking functional and sane and not full of crazypeople like the RNC's was. Why do this???

    September 5, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. wherefore

    Seriously... like, I mean, SERIOUSLY. Why does Israel's capital have to be mentioned in an AMERICAN politcal party's platform? What about Rwanda's capital? What about Canada's?

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Dav

    obama and his athiest comunist followers are destroying America,bye comrade obama 2012

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. cliff

    Ken...Israel has no confidence in Obama! Also, funny they are "fighting on the floor" as they are no more in unison than 100 welfare recipents with only 99 checks to hand out!

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. Kevin H

    No matter how you see the Jerusalem as the capital of Israel issue – the voice vote was unclear. The committee of the whole should have taken a vote by ballot. This vote in my opinion should be re-cast. It's wrong. It was obvious there was not a clear majority. This was too important for a voice vote. Sorry but it's true.

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. southernwonder

    some times it seems our politicans work more assiduously for israel than us.

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Al

    The subjects of God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel have always been a part of the Democratic platform. Thankfully the Dems amended the written platform to include these assumed issues so Repubs can now rest and re-insert their heads in the sand.

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Seth

    What a bunch of BS... keep God out of Government!

    September 5, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Ida

    Just wondering how pathetic a nation should be to subject itself to the yeas and nays of people of another country so that after three voting and an obvious cheating, the name of its capital goes up on some wall!

    September 5, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Jack

    Settle down, democrats. Leaving the word God out was becoming a distraction, and we don't want to give the R's any red meat on Isreal. We all know what was meant.

    September 5, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. ms

    Slop for the Republicans to feed on.

    September 5, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. BuckeyeInTexas

    Good news about the reinsertion to the Dems' platform. But what Truly amazes me is how incredibly ENRAGED Wolf Blitzer became concerning the omission of Jeruselum. I've always seen Mr. Blitzer as being cool, calm, and collected; however, his obvious outrage and Repeated emotions of utter shock & anger leads me to believe that we came extremely close to witnessing him explode right before our very eyes! Ever since the platform was presented he's been Absoluetly Livid! Very unprofessional "reporting". I hope he'll now be able to rest tonight & pull himself together...we have a long way to go to Nov 6.

    September 5, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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