Wait A Minute, The Republican Platform Doesn’t Recognize Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital?

Another platform controversy?

I’ve written twice already about the problems the Democratic Party faced, mostly from within their own ranks over the removal of platform language recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Republicans, of course, also chimed in on the story quite gleefully. As Mediaite’s  Tommy Christopher notes, however, the Republican Platform doesn’t contain any language at all recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:

The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has become a political football during the 2012 election,first snapped byMitt Romney‘s campaign during the candidate’s visit to Israel in July, and passed to the Democrats when they approved a platform which contained no mention of it. Now that that’s fixed, though, the mainstream media seems to have missed the glaring fact that only the Democratic Party Platform recognizes Jerusalem as the current capital of Israel.

Here’s what the Democratic Party National Platformsays about Jerusalem, reportedly at the insistence of President Obama:

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.

It doesn’t get any more direct than that. “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.”

However, the Republican Party Platform takes a different view: (emphasis mine)

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.

Given Republican rhetoric on Israel and Jerusalem, and Mitt Romney’s own promise that, as President, he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (a promise numerous Presidents including Obama have made and never delivered on, by the way), this actually surprises me. I had assumed, without checking, that the GOP had similar language in its platform. It clearly does not, as the quoted sentence (the only reference to Jerusalem in the entire 62 page Platform [PDF]) speaks of the future of the Middle East, not a presently existing fact. Where were the strongly pro-Israel evangelicals to protest the platforms refusal to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? It didn’t take long, after all, for Jewish Democrats to protest the removal of that language from their party’s platform, and for President Obama himself to order its reinstatement.

Some will wonder why this part of the GOP Platform didn’t become an issue last week for the press. That’s quite simply, actually. the absence of language is far less of a story than the removal of language that had been there for decades. Of course, if the Republican convention had occurred after the Democratic Convention this time around, it’s likely someone would have noticed the differences.

As I’ve said before, I find most of the controversies that develop around platforms to be rather pointless. Nonetheless, now that the Democrats have been raked over the coals over this Jerusalem issue, one wonders if anyone will ask the GOP about the lack of a similar provision in their platform. Turnabout, after all, is fair play.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Jay says:

    It was never an issue during the GOP convention because the press was too busy bleating about the abortion plank as if it didn’t exist since 1980.

    And the “we envision” language obviously refers to a Palestinian state that does not yet exist, not any reference to the idea they do not currently believe Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and to suggest otherwise is just silly.

  2. LaMont says:

    Seriously… You can’t make this stuff up with these Republicans. It almost feels like a movie scripts’s bad attempt at comedy!

  3. LaMont,

    It’s worth remembering that the biggest complaints about the Jerusalem language in the Democratic platform came from within the Democratic Party.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Does it really matter what a meaningless document says, or does not say?

  5. Mark Ivey says:

    Details-smetails.. Romney luvs Jerusalem and Obama hates it, something like that..

  6. LaMont says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It’s worth remembering that the biggest complaints about the Jerusalem language in the Democratic platform came from within the Democratic Party.

    Correct. However, you would think that conservatives would not bother to touch this report with a ten foot pole. Just another example of how today’s journalists have taken a dump in the research department!

  7. JKB says:

    Amusing, even if it does demonstrate a lack of comprehension of the English language. Not a lack of the nature of trying to argue “that” refers to multiple objects as opposed to someone using “those”. Or using “belong” then trying to argue it implies membership in something to which no one can “belong” since it is an entity without constituent parts and not ownership, which is entirely plausible for a government to claim.

  8. PD Shaw says:

    I think this is as weak as the complaint about the absence of God from the Democratic platform.

    D. Platform: The specific paragraph that was eliminated was not about God, it was about a philosophy in which “God-given” was used as an adjective to describe innate human traits.

    R. Platform: The specific paragraph is about a vision of a future in the Middle-East, its not about whether or not Jerusalem is the current capitol.

    These are interpretations derived at by characterizing omissions. Neither platform condemns Nazism, or we thus left with the idea that both parties support it? If one party condemns it, by extension is the other party soft on Nazis?

  9. Just Me says:

    I think this argument is a stretch.

    If the GOP plank envisions a two state solution and Jerusalem being the capital of Israel in that vision, it is hard to argue that they currently do not view Jerusalem as belonging to Israel.

    That said, I generally think controversies over planks are silly because nobody really makes their choice based on the plank-shoot I am willing to bet the average voter could barely tell you what the party plank says.

  10. Fiona says:

    This and the G-d issue are the kind of dribble that causes people to roll their eyes and sigh WTF. I

  11. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Language Police Alert!

    How posters use the word “dribble” is starting to drive me nuts! Dribble is what you do to a basketball while moving it down the court or what a person my age or older does when trying to drink milk. The word you’re looking for to describe the things that the Republicans (or Doug in some cases) say is “drivel.”

    Try to do better, folks! I can appreciate not cleaning up typos, but this isn’t a typo.

    Language Police Alert, Clear!

  12. Miguel Madeira says:

    @Just Me:

    “If the GOP plank envisions a two state solution and Jerusalem being the capital of Israel in that vision, it is hard to argue that they currently do not view Jerusalem as belonging to Israel.”

    But the GOP plank makes *any* reference to Jerusalem?

  13. bill says:

    well, it’s actually on the map and wiki also notes it so why it’s a bfd is beyond me. of course, the republicans have Israels back so it’s not an issue for them.