The Democrats reinstated their party platform’s traditional affirmation of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, after its removal drew attacks from attacks from Republicans and howls from their own party. But even the restoration was not without controversy.
News of the language’s reinsertion came as a surprise, as did the original absence of such an affirmation, which has been present in each of the party’s platform’s since 1972, with the exception of 1988.
The Democrats packaged the reinserted language with a second addition to put a reference to God back in the platform, another omission in the new platform that had sparked criticism.
But the God/Jerusalem package was not without its opponents. The convention’s chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, had to call for three voice votes before he ruled that the additions had the necessary 2/3 majority.
Each time there were loud dissents from many delegates in the then sparsely populated hall. It’s impossible to say whether God or Jerusalem was motivating the dissents, but C-SPAN focused in on Arab-American delegates who were vocal in shouting their disapproval.
At the time of the floor vote, I was at an event several blocks away sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council. The announcement that Jerusalem language had been added was greeted by some applause and a few shouts of "mazel tov."
UPDATE: Buzzfeed has a good report hinting at the diverse motives of no voters. Some were driven by Jerusalem, others by the God language and some by anger over procedure.
The Arab American Institute’s Jim Zogby is expressing disappointment in the "irregularities of the procedure." Also, some observers are questioning whether the voice vote really yielded the requisite super-majority. (The Republicans had their own fights on the convention floor over a couple of issues, accompanied by controversy over judging voice votes.)
The Romney campaign and Republican Jewish Coalition are still hammering the Dems on the issue.