On all three voice votes, a seemingly indistinguishable number of convention delegates shouted both "aye" and "no," but convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, determined after the third attempt that the required two-thirds vote in favor of the measure was reached. Loud booing followed Villaraigosa's announcement.
"To hear delegates on the floor of the Democratic convention strongly voice their opposition to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then boo when the chairman passes the resolution to adopt that language, is a shock," Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), said in a statement.
"This unfortunate incident highlights the split among rank and file Democrats when it comes to the critical issue of Israel, something we've seen for some time," Brooks added.
Before the change, the RJC on Wednesday had announced its placement of an advertisement on the removal of “strong pro-Israel language that was in the 2008 [Democratic] platform” in the Charlotte Observer as well as Jewish newspapers in the swing states of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.
The RJC ad highlighted how the Democrats removed that Jerusalem “is and will remain the capital of Israel,” that “The United States and the Quartet should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism,” that the peace process “should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees” by allowing them to settle in a Palestinian state rather than Israel, and that Israel is America’s “strongest ally” in the Middle East.
Every Democratic platform from 1972 to 2008—expect for 1988—“affirmed Jerusalem as capital of Israel,” the RJC noted in a press release.
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), however, emphasized Wednesday that the Republican platform in 2008 said “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel,” but did not contain such language in 2012.
Instead, this year’s Republican platform says the following: “We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states—Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine—living in peace and security.”
“No reference to an undivided capital, no reference to America’s embassy—gone,” NJDC President David A. Harris said in a statement. “Does this mean the Republican Party is suddenly anti-Israel? Of course not. But it does mean that GOP leaders pointing fingers [at Democrats] are wildly hypocritical—given this change and others.”