GOP raps Dem. platform on Israel, God

Sept. 4, 2012 at 7:27 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Top Republicans, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Tuesday accused the Democratic Party of "a radical shift" on Israel in the party's 2012 platform.

In a statement issued by his campaign, Romney said the Democratic platform adopted Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., removed pro-Israel language that had been included in previous platforms.

"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. "Four years of President Obama's repeated attempts to create distance between the United States and our cherished ally have led the Democratic Party to remove from their platform an unequivocal acknowledgment of a simple reality. As president, I will restore our relationship with Israel and stand shoulder to shoulder with our close ally."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called on "all friends of Israel to condemn the president's abrupt break with our closest ally in the Middle East."

"In 2008, the Democratic Party platform declared that Jerusalem 'is and will remain the capital of Israel,'" Cantor said. "Now, given Barack Obama's steady distancing of the U.S. from one of our most important allies, Jerusalem's status as Israel's capital has been excised from the Democrats' platform."

Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., said he was "alarmed" by the platform language on Israel.

"By failing to mention Jerusalem as Israel's capital, by no longer insisting that Palestinian refugees be settled inside a future Palestinian state rather than in Israel, and by failing to condemn Hamas -- all new positions from four years ago -- the Democratic Party is signaling a radical shift in its orientation, away from Israel."

A DNC official told ABC News: "The Obama administration has followed the same policy towards Jerusalem that previous U.S. administrations of both parties have done since 1967.

"As the White House said several months ago, the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- which we also said in the 2008 platform."

The Democratic platform also came in for criticism after the Christian Broadcasting Network said the word "God" had been removed.

CBN said the 2008 platform read: "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."

The report said the 2012 version of that paragraph reads: "We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth -- the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us."

CBN noted the platform contains a paragraph saying faith "has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history," and that "our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires."

A Democratic Party official told ABC the 2008 platform reference to God came in a section about "growing the middle class and making America fair, not actually about faith." The official noted the 2012 platform "includes an entire plank on the importance of faith-based organizations and the tremendous work that they do."

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