The Democratic Party’s scramble to amend its 2012 platform to reinsert a reference to Jerusalem may reflect nervousness in a party that has seen Jewish voters’ support for President Obama drop since 2008.
While American Jews continue to lean heavily Democrat – a stance usually attributed to liberal positions on social issues – a Gallup poll conducted in the early summer found that among registered Jewish voters, support for Obama stood at 64 percent, down from 74 percent in October-November 2008.
A similar trend was seen in the most recent Pew Research Center survey tracking this issue, earlier this year, which found that the percentage of Jews supporting or leaning towards the GOP climbed from 20 percent to 29 percent between 2008 and 2011, while the number supporting or leaning Democratic fell from 72 percent in 2008 to 65 percent in 2011.
A Gallup poll in March found favorable views of Israel remain strong in America – 71 percent in total, 80 percent among Republicans and 65 percent among Democrats.
Partisan Jewish groups were energized this week over the Democratic platform’s missing reference to Jerusalem – only the second
time since 1972 that the issue did not make an appearance – with the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) calling the exclusion “unconscionable” and the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) hitting back.
“Republicans will do everything they can to shift the conversation away from talk of choice, Medicare, marriage equality, and the laundry list of issues on which American Jews overwhelmingly line up with the Democratic Party,” said NJDC president and CEO David Harris on Tuesday. “But it won’t work.”
The conversation clearly had shifted, however, for after taking flak from Republicans and others over the issue – as well as the fact the platform made no reference to God – the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. afternoon held a voice vote on Wednesday to amend the platform adopted the previous evening.
Platform drafting committee chairman, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, proposed two additions to the document:
— “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.”
— “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.”
In the video below:
Three times he called for a voice vote and it was difficult to tell whether the shouts of “aye” or those of “no” were louder. In the end Villaraigosa determined that “in the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative.”
Amid audible boos, he added, “The motion is adopted, and the platform has been amended as shown on the screen.”
The RJC jumped on the images of Democratic delegates responding negatively to the proposed changes.
“To hear delegates on the floor of the Democratic convention strongly voice their opposition to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then boo when the chairman passes the resolution to adopt that language, is a shock,” the group’s executive director, Matt Brooks, said in a statement.
“This unfortunate incident highlights the split among rank and file Democrats when it comes to the critical issue of Israel, something we’ve seen for some time.”
The U.S. Congress in 1995 passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructing that the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although all three presidents since then have postponed the move, invoking an inbuilt “national security” waiver.
- Boos and Jeers as Democrats Revise Platform to Include ‘God,’ ‘Jerusalem': http://cnsnews.com/news/article/boos-and-jeers-democrats-revise-platform-include-god-jerusalem
- Gallup: http://www.gallup.com/poll/155111/Mormons-Widely-Favor-Romney-Jewish-Voters-Back-Obama.aspx
- Trends in Party Identification of Religious Groups- Jewish Support for GOP Rises: http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Trends-in-Party-Identification-of-Religious-Groups.aspx
- Americans Continue to Tilt Pro-Israel: http://www.gallup.com/poll/153092/Americans-Continue-Tilt-Pro-Israel.aspx
- 2012 Dem Platform Is Only the Second in 40 Years to Be Silent on Jerusalem: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/2012-dem-platform-only-second-40-years-be-silent-jerusalem
- Basic Law- Jerusalem- Capital of Israel: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1980_1989/Basic%20Law-%20Jerusalem-%20Capital%20of%20Israel
- Palestine National Charter of 1964: http://www.un.int/wcm/content/site/palestine/pid/12363
What Our Founding Fathers Learned From Ancient Israel: http://thestoryofliberty.intuitwebsites.com/What-our-founders-learned-from-Israel.html
America and ancient Israel forever bound: http://thestoryofliberty.intuitwebsites.com/america-and-israel.html
Who will you serve? God or Government? http://thestoryofliberty.intuitwebsites.com/christiancommission.html