Republicans Blast Democratic Platform for Dismissing Israel

Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012 12:34 PM

By Martin Gould

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Republicans on Tuesday were quick to jump on the Democrats’ 2012 platform for dropping calls for the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and for putting more emphasis on climate change than the economy.

Backing for gay marriage, abortion rights, and the closure of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay were also seen as easy targets for the GOP, which believes the platform could rebound on President Barack Obama at the ballot box.

George W. Bush’s White House press secretary Ari Fleischer made it clear he could not understand the Democrats’ decision to abandon the commitment to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Given O’s troubles w Israel and Jewish vote, why on earth did Ds drop Jerusalem as capital from their platform?” he tweeted.

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The Republican Jewish Coalition went further, calling the platform “the most radically unsupportive statement of policy on Israel by a major U.S, party since [its] founding,” in a tweet.

In 2008, the Democratic platform included the words “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel,” saying “It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths,” but the city does not even rate a mention this time around. The platform merely says that the Democrats have “an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security” and will do everything it can to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Conservative commentator Jennifer Rubin, writing in her Washington Post column said there is even more missing this year. “In 2008, Obama committed 'to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.' That language is gone in the 2012 platform,” she wrote.

The Republican National Committee pointed out the differences between the tone of the Democratic platform and its own. “'Obama' is mentioned once in the Republican platform, ‘but ‘Romney’ is mentioned 22 times in the Democrat platform,” it tweeted.

The RNC also drew attention to the fact that the platform makes no mention of health care premiums, nor does it make reference to balancing the budget.

“Democrat Party Platform mentions ‘climate change’ 18 times. Deficit (only) 9 times” the RNC also tweeted.

The Democrats start their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday and are expected to vote to adopt the platform on the first day. As expected it calls for higher taxes for the wealthy as well as backing Obama’s call for the legalization of same-sex marriage and support for abortion rights.

“Today our economy is growing again, al-Qaida is weaker than at any point since 9/11, and our manufacturing section is growing for the first time in more than a decade,” it states.

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“But there is more we need to do, and so we come together again to continue what we started.”

It also makes clear the difference between the path Obama and the Democrats would take the country and the one that Mitt Romney and Republicans would choose.

“This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families,” it states.

The Democratic platform also includes:
  • Equal treatment for same-sex couples. “We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference;”
  • Comprehensive immigration reform, bringing “undocumented immigrants out of the shadows,” and requiring illegal immigrants “to get right with the law, learn English and pay taxes;”
  • Extending middle-class tax cuts “while asking the wealthiest and corporations to pay their fair share;”
  • “Unequivocal” support for keeping the Roe vs. Wade ruling on abortion rights. “Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way;”
  • Improving and extending Obamacare. “No law is perfect and Democrats stand willing to work with anyone to improve the law where necessary, but we are committed to moving forward;”
  • Repeating the 2008 pledge to close the prison camp at Guantanamo. “We are substantially reducing the population at Guantanamo Bay without adding to it. And we remain committed to working with all branches of government to close the prison altogether because it is inconsistent with our national security interests and our values.” However the platform omits the 2008 pledge to give terrorist suspects the right to challenge their detention;
  • Working to overturn the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, even going as far as proposing a constitutional amendment. It calls for “immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests on our political institutions;”
  • Claiming Obamacare will strengthen Medicare. “Democrats adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare;”
  • Committing the party to defense cutbacks as part of the agreement made last year after debt reduction talks broke down;
  • Backing further reductions in nuclear weapons in talks with Russia.
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