Democrats Silent on Jerusalem — Romney: `Unfortunate’

Photograph by Olivier Weiken/EPA

A poster of President Barack Obama, reading 'Yes we can', endorsing a two-state solution based on the borders of 1967 as a peace solution between Israel and Palestine, during a peace demonstration in Tel Aviv.

The Democratic Party platform does not state that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, an omission that’s likely to inflame critics who say President Barack Obama has taken too weak a position towards a stalwart American ally.

“President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” states the start of the section of the platform related to the Middle East. The three paragraph statement vows an “enduring commitment” to Israel, advocates for a two-state solution, and promises to increase security spending.

It says nothing, though, about Jerusalem — a change from four years ago, when Democrats included a statement that Jerusalem “is and will remain that capital” in their platform.

The decision by the party to leave out a formal statement on Jerusalem provided an easy opening for Republican Mitt Romney, who long has charged Obama with failing to be a strong enough advocate for Israeli security.

“It is unfortunate that the entire Democratic Party has embraced President Obama’s shameful refusal to acknowledge that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Romney said in a statement today. “As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have traditionally called for Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and frequently promise to move the embassy there from Tel Aviv — a pledge that plays well with many Jewish voters in pivotal swing states such as Florida and Ohio.

The vow is almost entirely about domestic politics: Once in office, politicians have done little to enforce the policy, largely because it would undercut attempts to forge a peace deal in the region.

 

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