Why Did Jerusalem Disappear From Platform?

First It's Out, Then It's In After Obama Steps In

By Ron Kampeas (JTA)

Published September 05, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Jerusalem has many mysteries, but none may be as perplexing at present as its temporary disappearance from the Democratic Party platform.

Several people involved in the platform’s writing who spoke to JTA late Monday and early Tuesday said they did not know how boilerplate references to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital that have appeared in Democratic platforms for decades were dropped from the platform before its release Monday night.

But by late Tuesday afternoon – after Republicans launched a full-force offensive criticizing the omission – the Democrats reversed course. Robert Wexler, a member of the platform draft committee, and a chief Jewish surrogate for the Obama campaign, credited President Obama for the change.

“They are returning the language to the 2008 situation,” Wexler told JTA late Tuesday. “The president directly intervened to make sure this amendment happened.”

He and other party sources told JTA and other news outlets that language affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be inserted into the party platform by a voice vote on Wednesday evening. What may have appeared to skeptics as an exercise in damage control was described by Democratic insiders as the correction of an inadvertent error.

Earlier Tuesday, Republicans had slammed the ommission.

“It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, said in a statement. Romney called Jerusalem Israel’s capital during his visit to the city in July.

Mostly lost in the debate over the Democratic platform was that Republicans also altered the language on Jerusalem in their document, removing a specific reference to the city as Israel’s “undivided” capital and a promise to move the U.S. Embassy there.

Initial statements from the Democratic National Committee in Charlotte, where the party’s convention is being held, suggested that the intention indeed was to bring the platform in compliance with White House policy. The statements noted that it has never been the policy of any president , Republican or Democrat, to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.