Two platform planks sparked division at the Democratic National Convention here Wednesday…
Obama had seen the language prior to the convention, a campaign source said, but did not seek to change it until after Republicans jumped on the omissions of God and Jerusalem late Wednesday. And even then, it had to be forced through a convention hall full of delegates who nearly shouted down the change…
A senior White House said Wednesday that the platform dispute was an unfortunate stumble during this week’s convention.
Democratic lawmakers expressed confusion Wednesday evening over their party’s decision to omit several key pro-Israel passages from the Democratic platform, including explicit support for Jerusalem remaining the Jewish state’s capital city.
“It was silly not to include it,” Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) told the Washington Free Beacon Wednesday evening, during an event meant to honor Center for American Progress founder John Podesta, a former Clinton administration official.
“It’s embarrassing,” said CNN’s John King when asked for his opinion on the lack of consensus among the DNC delegates. “It took, what, three times, and even then – listening from up here – it’s hard to say that was two thirds. But he just decided enough was enough.”
King says that reporters still do not know why, and no one has told them how, it was decided that the DNC platform committee would omit language that referred to God as well as to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel. He said that Congressional Democrats panicked yesterday, knowing that Romney would make an issue of the platform in swing states with a large Jewish population like Florida.
“That was embarrassing,” King concluded.
Two sources also told HuffPost that officials with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the bipartisan and staunchly pro-Israel interest group known as AIPAC, had vetted the draft and signed off on its provisions.
AIPAC-linked sources later vociferously denied the report, telling reporters that the organization had initially proposed language that included Jerusalem as the capital, and that their officials never reviewed the “full Middle East platform.”
The source informed on the internal party deliberations said the latest change to reinsert the Jerusalem language was made in order to calm the controversy, not to change the intent of the passage.
In the last few elections, the parties’ platforms have not differed vastly when it came to Israel. In 2000, both opposed a unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinians, pledged to support Israel’s qualitative military edge, and took a pro-Israel line on Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths,” the Democrats urged, while the GOP argued that “The United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its Embassy and Ambassador in Jerusalem.”…
Wednesday afternoon’s move by besieged Democrats to add Jerusalem language to their platform is better than a refusal to do so. But who can believe this is an act of principle rather than a desperate effort to avoid the criticism that has fallen on their heads?
For Israel and its supporters, the drama over the 2012 Democratic Party platform can only arouse new worries about the direction of American policy.
Let the paranoia begin. For the professional alarmists who see an all-powerful Israel lobby lurking behind every bush, rock, and cloud, today’s debacle is a goldmine. What could be a greater demonstration of the Israel Lobby’s dangerous subversion of American democracy than the sham vote at the Democratic National Convention that saw pro-Israel language shoved into the party platform over the heads of party delegates?
The reality of the situation, however, is both more interesting and more frightening than intrepid Zionist-spotters would have you believe. Today, America got an unvarnished look at the Democratic Party’s internal conflict on Israel. Half of the Party represents the pro-Israel consensus in America. The other half? Not so much. For all the talk about the unrecognizably extreme new Republican Party, it’s the Democrats whose fringe has quietly made deep inroads into the center — especially when it concerns Israel — and fundamentally altered the nature of the Party.
The two parties have spent much of the past two weeks eliminating all remaining reasons for the continued existence of national conventions.
Democrats this afternoon joined Republicans in finally ending the pretense that conventions are democratic gatherings where delegates have power…
So these are festivals and pep rallies. Why they should get federal subsidies and huge floods of media attention is beyond me. Maybe this year’s snafus will finally convince the world to dial back the conventions.
How do you mess up God and Jerusalem politics in 2012? As well organized as the convo was MESSAGE wise yesterday, that was a BAD fumble
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) September 5, 2012
“The president and his party have now changed their position. They now say that they’re not certain what the capital of Israel might be,” Romney said. “I find that one more example of Israel being thrown under the bus by the president. I think it’s a very sad day.”…
“When we have our best friend in the Middle East, a nation which shares our values, a nation now under extraordinary threat and distress when nations around it like Syria and Egypt are going through tumult of their own, for us at a stage like this, to take an action of that nature, to cease calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel — this is a very troubling development and I think one which will be recognized for what it is by people across America and across the world,” Romney added.