Democrats Shift Language on Israel, Remove 'God-Given' From Platform
CHARLOTTE - For Democrats, there is no God in 2012 - at least as far as the party's platform is concerned.
Nor is there a Jerusalem.
Democrats removed those two words, and the passages surrounding them, from the 2012 party platform as it was released this week.
In Charlotte on Monday, the Democratic National Committee released its 2012 party platform after the DNC Platform Committee approved it under the leadership of Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker. The Platform Drafting Committee, led by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, gathered feedback for an initial draft in Minneapolis over the summer.
Gone are three sentences identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, now and forever. There is no mention of Jerusalem in the 2012 document, after the 2008 version included this mention:
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.
Also gone is this reference to Hamas:
The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements.
President Obama has publicly endorsed a two-state solution for Israel. Disagreements between his administration and Israel have at times become public, as the president has opposed new settlement construction, and the Jewish state's more hawkish supporters have relentlessly criticized him for his handling of U.S./Israeli relations.
"The Obama Administration has followed the same policy towards Jerusalem that previous U.S. Administrations of both parties have done since 1967," a DNC spokeswoman said of the change in platform language. "As the White House said several months ago, the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians - which we also said in the 2008 platform. We will continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue as part of a two state solution that secures the future of Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland of the Jewish people."
Also gone is a previous reference to "God."
The Democratic Party's 2008 platform mentioned "God" once, in this passage (emphasis added):
We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.
Explaining the removal, a Democratic official explained: "The 2008 platform reference is 'God-given' and is about growing the middle class and making America fair, not actually about faith. The platform includes an entire plank on the importance of faith based organizations and the tremendous work that they do. Further, the language we use to talk about faith and religion is exactly the same vocabulary as 2008. I would also note that the platform mentions: 'faith' 11 times; 'religion' or 'religious' 9 times; 'church' 2 times (one is a quote); and, 'clergy' 1 time."