Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Democratic Leaders Backpedal From Platform Gaffe Over God, Israel

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The Democratic National Convention's smooth progression was disrupted Wednesday, when it was revealed that the party platform lacked references to God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which caused deep division among the delegates. NY1's Nick Reisman filed the following report.

A day after the Democratic platform was amended to include references to God and that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. tried to explain Thursday how the error occurred.

"I think of it as a typo," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

The Democratic Party is trying to declare a mulligan and move on, but the episode reopened concerns that President Barack Obama would have difficulty marshaling votes from the Jewish community.

Democrats staunchly defended the president on his stance toward Israel.

"I think it's very clear to everybody that previous Democratic platforms have always recognized Jerusalem as part of Israel, united Israel, the capital of Israel, and that will never be compromised as part of the Democratic platform," Stringer said.

The news of the missing language initially angered Jewish leaders and other supporters of Israel and left some questioning what happened.

"Let me tell you. I was one of those people really pushing to amend it. I was very angry when I heard it was taken out. But it was put back in, it was put back in at the request of President Obama," said Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel.

The problem could be especially acute for Obama in Florida, a swing state, which could mean the difference in the election.

"Whatever you think about the merits of the policy and they're very complicated and nuanced, taking the language out without giving a heads up to Jewish activists at a time when you're trying to calm the concerns of the Jewish community, it's one of the dumbest political moves I've seen in a long time," said Larry Levy of Hofstra University.

Senator Charles Schumer told reporters Thursday the original plank was a mistake and in a speech Tuesday night insisted the president stands with Israel.

"When it comes to one of our closet allies, Israel, President Obama has been resolute," the senator said.

Republicans pounced on the news, saying the stumble was a sign that Obama is distancing the United States from Israel. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP