Democrats neglect status of Jerusalem in platform
Broad statement in support of Israel replaces city's status
In a highly notable omission, the Democratic Party neglected to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A broader statement on the United States' unconditional support for Israel was used instead. The less specific language was seized upon by Republicans, and highlighted U.S. President Barack Obama's difficulties with the Jewish state's leadership.
So why did the status of Jerusalem disappear from the Democratic Party platform in 2012? 'There was no discussion on it,' said Robert Wexler, a member of the platform draft committee, and a chief Jewish surrogate for the Obama campaign. 'It's a good question.'
Instead, the declaration for the U.S.'s support of Israel failed to mention of Jerusalem at all, including language about Palestinian refugees and the terrorist group Hamas.
Longstanding U.S. policy withholds recognition of the city as Israel's capital, while the U.S. embassy remains in Tel Aviv. When questioned about this status in July, White House press secretary Jay Carney would only say that the U.S. position hasn't changed.
The situation has left President Obama in a difficult balancing act between longstanding U.S. foreign policy objectives and electoral politics. The president's critics say he has been insufficiently supportive of Israel, and has had an awkward and difficult working relationship with the Israel's conservative government.
The president's unwary relationship with Israeli leadership became very apparent when the Democrats lost a safe House seat in a heavily Jewish district in New York City.
Several people involved in the writing the Democratic Party's platforms are reportedly at a loss for wards as to the omission of the status of Jerusalem.
Republicans seized the moment to highlight this glaring discrepancy after they discovered that boilerplate references to Jerusalem as Israel's capital apparent in Democratic platforms in the decades previously were no longer there.
"It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama's shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel's capital," Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in a statement. Romney called Jerusalem Israel's capital during his visit to the city in July.
In response, the Democratic Party said that the statements noted that it has never been the policy of any president, Republican or Democrat, to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
"The Obama Administration has followed the same policy towards Jerusalem that previous U.S. administrations of both parties have done since 1967," the statement said. "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."
The final-status negotiations appeared in the 2008 platform, but the plank also included a statement saying that "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel."
So why did it disappear in 2012? "There was no discussion on it," said Robert Wexler, a member of the platform draft committee, and a chief Jewish surrogate for the Obama campaign. "It's a good question."
Wexler said that those shaping the platform were not focused on final-status issues, which include Jerusalem. The former Florida congressman said he did not know if there was a directive from the Obama campaign to avoid such issues, but said it was fair to "deduce" that there was.
The revelation comes as Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren released a statement denying a claim by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz that he had said "what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.
"I categorically deny that I ever characterized Republican policies as harmful to Israel," Oren said. "Bipartisan support is a paramount national interest for Israel, and we have great friends on both sides of the aisle."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Democratic Party, Jerusalem Israel, international relations
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Politics & Policy News
- E.W. Jackson Wins Nomination as Republican Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
- 'Planned Parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was!' Virginia GOP nominee says
- Food stamps hang in the balance as lawmakers debate cost
- News to ruin your morning: IRS official who targeted conservatives for audit now oversees your Obamacare compliance
- Culture of Corruption, Obama pays Sarah Ingram extra for her harassment of conservatives
- Culture of Corruption: Why Obama's misuse of Marines is wrong
- Rubio: Obama's intimidation of tea party groups 'not in isolation'
- Editorial: Is the Scandal Ridden Obama Administration Becoming a House of Cards?
- Obama asks for more money, Marines to protect embassies
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?