Republican leaders were outraged Tuesday at changes in the Democratic platform on Israel. Unlike the 2008 platform, which said the city is and will remain the capital, this year's version does not discuss Jerusalem's status.
Jewish voters traditionally vote heavily for Democratic presidential candidates, but Republicans have been pushing hard for their support. Obama got about 74 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008 and polls suggest support is just as strong this year.
But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., charged Tuesday that Democrats were steadily distancing themselves from Israel.
Former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., added that, “By failing to mention Jerusalem as Israel’s
capital, by no longer insisting that Palestinian refugees be settled inside a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel, and by failing to condemn Hamas—all new positions from four years ago—the Democratic Party is signaling a radical shift in its orientation, away from Israel.”
Democrats insisted the platform, adopted at the convention Tuesday, strongly supported Israel. The United States has maintained that Jerusalem’s status as Israel's capital is a matter of negotiation.
They strongly rejected any notion the White House has wavered in its support of Israel. "Over the past four years, the president has proven this commitment time and again in both word and
deed," former Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., told the convention.
“President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel's security,” the platform said. “A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply
because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values.”
It urges peace between Israel and the Palestinians, “producing two states for two
peoples,” saying that “would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel's security concerns are met.”
The platform also insists Obama will “insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.”