With heavy booing from dissenters, the Democratic National Convention voted Wednesday to reinstate language supporting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to restore a reference to God in its party platform.
DNC Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa conducted a voice vote of the delegates on the proposed platform changes, asking for yeses and nos three times because of how similar the responses sounded. A two-thirds vote was required to adopt the change. Despite clear opposition, Villaraigosa declared the amendment had passed, prompting loud booing.
The changes reinstated language from the 2008 platform that said “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” and of Jerusalem, “it is and will remain the capital of Israel.”
According to the Associated Press, President Barack Obama personally intervened to get the platform changed back.
Democrats had been sharply criticized for not including the language, including by fellow party members. Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said on Fox News that removing the Jerusalem language was “a tragedy” that served to “undermine our nation’s support for Israel.” Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said omitting God “suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.”
“Mitt Romney has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement after Wednesday’s vote. “President Obama has repeatedly refused to say the same himself. Now is the time for President Obama to state in unequivocal terms whether or not he believes Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said reinstating the platform language reflected “the policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades.”
Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, Utah, told the Associated Press she felt the language went against the principle of the separation of church and state.
“There are people who don’t believe in God and you have to respect that as well,” Ul-Hasan said. She also questioned the process by which the platform was amended. “There was no discussion. We didn’t even see it coming. We were blindsided by it.”
Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah, was similarly dismayed there was no discussion of amending the platform after it was approved Tuesday.
“The majority spoke last night,” Urrae said, noting the platform was approved Tuesday. “We shouldn’t be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This post has been updated since it was first published.