By Elad Benari
After facing sharp criticism from Mitt Romney and Republicans, the Democrats reinstated on Wednesday the language that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel into their party platform.
According to a report in CBS News, the party has also brought back the words “G‑d-given” that were removed in this year’s platform. The party reinstated the 2008 language into this year’s platform to “reflect the President’s personal view,” CBS News learned.
The Democratic Party platform that was released on Monday simply stated that “President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.” The three-paragraph section entitled “The Middle East” detailed the Obama administration’s support for Israel, including boosting security assistance, but said nothing about Jerusalem.
In contrast, in 2008 the Democratic Party’s platform said, “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.”
Romney criticized the Democrats over the platform, saying, “It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
He added, “Four years of President Obama’s repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”
During a visit to Israel in July, Romney stated that it was “a moving experience to be in Jerusalem—the capital of Israel,” eliciting extended and excited applause from the audience.
During his election campaign in 2008, Obama reassured Jewish constituents that Jerusalem will remain the “undivided” capital of Israel. His stance since then has significantly changed.
“Let me be clear, Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable,” Obama said at the time. “The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper. But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized, and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
Obama soon retracted his remarks, saying that the word undivided “was poorly chosen.”
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday criticized the removal of the section regarding Jerusalem, saying, “I’m less worried about the U.S.–Israel relations regarding Iran, and more concerned about President Obama’s withdrawal from the principle that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
The omission “has far-reaching significance, which reflects a complete lack of understanding by the Obama administration about the roots of the conflict and the events in the Middle East,” said Rivlin, in an unusually blunt statement for a senior Israeli political figure during a U.S. election season. (Arutz Sheva)