The vote was far from decisive, however, and angered many delegates who opposed the reinstatement of the language. Some stood up from their seats inside the Time Warner Arena, shaking their fingers at Villaraigosa.
At the same time, the change did not go as far as some delegates or Jewish organizations wanted, and it underscored yet again how complicated and perilous Obama’s relationship is with the American politics over Israel. An Obama campaign official said the president intervened Wednesday to strengthen the platform language on Jerusalem.
The adopted language reads: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”
The party’s original 2012 platform, characterized by GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s supporters as a “radical distancing” of the United States from Israel, had become a point of contention at the Democratic convention and a potential source of tension between Obama and Jewish voters.
But some major Jewish organizations, while expressing disappointment in the new platform statement on Jerusalem, on Wednesday described it nonetheless as strongly supportive of Israel and not likely to generate widespread Jewish antipathy toward Obama in the weeks before Election Day.
“AIPAC believes this is a very pro-Israel platform,” said a person close to the most politically influential Jewish organization, known formally as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The main source of controversy over the Democrats’ platform was the omission of any reference to Jerusalem, even though the 2008 plank stated that the city “is and will remain” Israel’s capital.
But some Jews and Romney supporters noted that the 2012 platform also changes the party’s position on the rights of Palestinian refugees and their descendents: It no longer rules out their right to return to property in Israel under a final peace agreement.
The 2008 platform said Palestinians would be able to resettle only inside a future Palestinian state, not inside Israel. But Democratic delegates did not add that to the 2012 platform, nor did they add a line from 2008 that described Israel as “our strongest ally in the region.”
In a statement before the Jerusalem change was made, former U.S. senator Norm Coleman (Minn.), a co-chairman of the Romney campaign, said, “The Democratic Party is signaling a radical shift in its orientation, away from Israel.”