The Republican Party’s platform is said to have reinstated a reference to Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel, CNN reported late Sunday.
The language, shared with members of the party’s platform drafting committee at an orientation on Sunday night in Cleveland, reinstated a reference to an “undivided” Jerusalem after it was omitted from the 2012 platform.
In 2008, the GOP’s platform read, “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.” However, in the 2012 platform, Republicans advocated for “two democratic states – Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security.”
The Republican platform draft, according to the CNN report, also removed a reference to the creation of a Palestinian state in support of a two-state solution.
The move comes after intense lobbying to declare Jerusalem as the “undivided and eternal” capital of the Jewish state by leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and a group named “Iron Dome Alliance.”
In a letter sent to Republican convention delegates last week, former Ronald Reagan administration official Gary Bauer, director of the CUFI Action Fund lobby, called for the Republican Party to “strengthen its language in support for Israel with Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘undivided, eternal’ capital.”
Iron Dome Alliance recommended the following language: “We recognize an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Judea and Samaria as integral parts of the indigenous Jewish homeland. We call for the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 2017, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the city’s liberation and reunification.”
The group, headed by activist Jeff Ballabon, launched a website, israelfriends.us, urging Republicans and pro-Israeli Jews to flood Republican leaders and delegates with emails, urging them to agree on the proposed language ahead of the platform committee’s meeting in Cleveland on Monday. On Sunday night, the site’s home page read the following message: “Thank you all for your responses! Your messages were heard, loud and clear. At this time, we don’t need to flood the delegates with further emails. Thanks again for your support.”
In December, Donald Trump, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, drew loud boos at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s candidate forum when he refused to declare Israel was the undivided capital of Israel. “Can I at least pin you down on Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel? Is that a position you support?” RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks asked Trump. “You know what I want to do? I want to wait until I meet with Bibi,” Trump replied. As he was loudly jeered by an audible member in the room, Trump turned to his left and asked, “Who’s the wise guy? Do me a favor, just relax. You’ll like me very much, believe me. Don’t worry about it.”
However, after announcing his support for the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at AIPAC in March, Trump is now said to back an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to his Israel advisor, David Friedman.
The Democratic Party’s platform committee on Saturday approved its 2016 platform, rejecting language against settlements and reflecting the party’s longstanding support of Israel and Hillary Clinton’s vision for peace and security in the Middle East.
“We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity,” the platform reads. “While Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”