Obama puts God, Jerusalem back in platform

2012-09-06 09:02

Charlotte - US President Barack Obama ordered Democrats on Wednesday to reinsert references to God and Jerusalem in their party platform, prompting boos from many angry delegates.

The controversy had threatened to detract from the party's drive to draw a sharp contrast at their Charlotte, North Carolina convention with Republican nominee Mitt Romney on the eve of Obama's nominating speech on Thursday.

Delegates had faced a torrent of Republican criticism and some from within the party after dropping pro-forma references to God and the party's support for Jerusalem being recognised as the capital of Israel.

A campaign official said the president, who has been hammered by Republicans who see him as too tough on Israel, personally intervened to have language on Jerusalem, a feature of past party platforms, restored.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Obama had also questioned why the party ever dispensed with language in the 2008 platform referring to America's "God-given" potential.

Amid chaotic scenes, Democrats began the second day of their nominating jamboree amending the platform they had adopted just 24 hours earlier.

'Nays' match 'ayes'

Sensing the move may rile influential religious and Jewish voters, convention manager and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, asked for approval of a revised document.

Proposing the motion, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland said "faith and belief in God is central to the American story" and "President Obama recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and our party's platform should as well".

But when a voice vote was called the "nays" appeared to match the "ayes".

"I...I... I guess, I'll do that one more time," said an obviously flustered Villaraigosa.

Despite the second attempt leading to a similar response, Villaraigosa declared: "In the opinion of that chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative. The motion is adopted, and the platform has been amended."

That sparked a chorus of boos from the floor, while supporters tried shambolically to cheer the passing of the measure.

A hot button issue

"I only have concerns about those who said 'no'," Ruben Diaz, Jnr, president of New York City's Bronx borough, said. "The people of Israel deserve to know that America has their back."

Since 1992, Democrats have stated unequivocally that "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel", but the US embassy remains in Tel Aviv pending an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians on "final status" issues.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a thorny issue in US politics.

Democrat and Republican White Houses have long stated that Jerusalem's final status should be decided by negotiations between the two parties.

But thanks in large part to the influence of Jewish voters in key battleground states like Florida, relations with Israel are a hot button issue in US elections.

The platform is a largely symbolic document, which is often ignored by the powerful executive branch.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-06 09:11

    Not so much of a choice for americans when they have to decide between two sides of the same coin.

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-09-06 09:36

      Its like having to choose to be bitten by a green mamba or a black mamba and be happy about it?

  • kooskanmar - 2012-09-06 09:41

    Obama is gone. It's writing's on the wall.

      dane.herbst.5 - 2012-09-06 09:59

      depends on who the bankers have choosen

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-09-06 10:06

      You mean on Wall Street?

      juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-06 10:26

      The bankers can also only vote once :)

  • faerrab - 2012-09-06 10:00

    America is a Plutocracy period

  • shaheen.seedat.334 - 2012-09-06 10:25

    Its time for the presidential candidates to prostrate before AIPAC and their ilk

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-09-06 10:45

    You have got to admit that the Republican & Democrat Party Conventions are the best American sitcoms on TV.

  • JohanCduToit - 2012-09-06 10:51

    "The people of Israel deserve to know that America has their back." The people is Israel does not "deserve" anything. Why does Israel even feature in American politics? This is all about getting votes. Politicians will be politicians.

      ludlowdj - 2012-09-06 11:22

      The US is run by Jewish money, you do you think runs the Banks, media, and film industry?

      JohanCduToit - 2012-09-06 11:35

      Yes - Jewish blood money. If you add up all the costs of senseless wars, it is safe to say that Americans would have been better off if they did not take that money.

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-09-06 10:52

    So there's no point in shouting aye or nay if they don't count any votes or something, the board can just decide for themselves and do as they like? What a farce.

  • Bob.Cee123 - 2012-09-06 11:51

    I love watching The Daily Show & Colbert Report rip these guys to bits. Despite their democratic bias, they don't let the dems get away with everything and I'm sure this won't go unpunished. Some of the satire on those shows is sheer genius.

      selma.botha.9 - 2012-09-06 12:06

      Unlike Charlie Rose and Pierce who are gaga on the Democrats

      dane.herbst.5 - 2012-09-06 13:22

      that is the only programme ill watch for REAL NEWS :)

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