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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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The Democrats’ Jerusalem Problem

We probably will never know for sure whether President Obama was involved or even aware of the decision not to carry over a reference to Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel in the Democratic Party’s 2008 platform to its 2012 platform.

Frankly, we cannot conceive that a shift on such a hot button issue would have taken place without clearance from someone close to the president if not the president himself. To be sure, after a torrent of criticism the Democrats, in a bizarre televised procedure, restored the reference – ostensibly, at least according to party officials, at the president’s personal direction in order to align the platform with his own view on Jerusalem.

In the end, all the episode served to do was raise some real concerns about the Democratic Party and Mr. Obama.

Anyone who viewed the video of the restoration vote has to know that, notwithstanding the chairman’s transparently phony ruling, not only did the voice vote fail to muster a required two-thirds majority required by the convention rules, it sounded like there wasn’t even a simple majority.

This is but the latest indication that the party of Harry Truman, who ordered U.S. recognition of Israel in 1948, is no longer hospitable to our community’s core concern for Israel. Indeed, the strained voice vote seemed to confirm sentiments that led to the elimination of Jerusalem from the 2012 platform in the first place.

But even the amended platform should cause great concern, particularly as it cannot now be claimed that President Obama is unaware of its contents. Jerusalem was hardly the only Middle East reference deleted, though it was the only one restored. Thus, the 2008 reference to Hamas as a terrorist organization that deserves isolation is gone. Also missing is the 2008 reference to U.S. support for Israel’s retention of Jewish population centers in the West Bank. Similarly vanished is the reference to Palestinian refugees having no right of return to Israel, only to a Palestinian state.

Plainly, a second term for Mr. Obama would mean some very real problems for Israel in terms of the American approach to Hamas as a legitimate political force, the future of Jewish settlements, and a Palestinian right of return.

And one can expect problems with regard to Jerusalem as well, notwithstanding the platform flip-flop. If Mr. Obama has all along believed in an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, why hasn’t U.S. policy reflected this?

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