G-d Makes a Comeback at the Democratic Convention

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It was a moment that was, shall we say, biblical. G-d had made it back into the Democratic platform, in a way that would have pleased the ancient prophets.

The day before, the platform glaringly elided all references to G-d. It proclaimed strong support for Israel as a democratic and Jewish state – which was certainly welcome – but left out important pro-Israel statements that had been fixtures of the last two platforms, including asserting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and labeling Hamas (the progeny of the Muslim Brotherhood now in power in Egypt) as a terrorist organization.

The omissions were noticed, and Democrats scrambled to explain, and later to restore some (but not all!) of language that had been included in the past.

The vote did not go as they anticipated. Listening to the playback, it was clear that leadership thought that the required two-thirds majority would be secured on a voice vote. Indeed, the call for ayes from those in favor of the measure was answered by strong chorus of voices.

But so was the call for nays. Taken by surprise, the session chairman tried twice more, hoping that the delegates had misunderstood his instructions. Little changed, other than his deciding that the ayes were, to his satisfaction, twice as vigorous as the nayes. He announced his decision, and G-d and Jerusalem were welcome once again at the DNC.

That led to a vigorous round of boos.

The moment will be discussed, debated, and squeezed for advantage by Republicans. Whatever the consequences of this turn out to be, the moment will forever retain a certain irony.

What drove the amendment – G-d, or Jerusalem?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chair, said this to a CNN anchor: “The language on G-d – while we were amending the platform to include Jerusalem… we also felt that it was important to make sure that we made a reference there.”

So there you have it. This was the day that G-d rode the coattails of Jerusalem, not the other way around. His Holy City functioned the way it was supposed to, as the vehicle for bringing G-d consciousness to the larger world.

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17 Responses

  1. dovid2 says:

    “Israel is my number one issue and I want Israel to have the best support possible in the government of the USA.”

    It’s heart warming that Israel is your number 1 issue. But before waxing emotional, may I remind you that you voted Obama into office even though the writing was on the wall for every one to see that Obama had a pronounced animus against Israel and Jews?

  2. Raymond says:

    Once again, I am going to make my comments before reading anybody else’s comments, so as not to get too overwhelmed here.

    I listen to a whole lot of talk radio, and it has been obvious to me that our Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, had to basically force the Democratic Party to keep G-d and Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel, in its platform. The delegates from that party, clearly did not want that. While I applaud our Mayor for being a long-time supporter of our Jewish State of Israel, the incident described substantiates what I noticed long ago, namely that it is the Republicans who are far more pro-Israel than are the Democrats. And indeed, studies have also supported my claim. Plus, we have not had a President as hostile to Israel since the days of Jimmy Carter, as the man we now have in the White House.

    And yet, all of us already know that when it comes time for the upcoming Presidential elections, that the overwhelming majority of American Jews will continue to support Barack Obama. What will it take for Jews to wake up, another Holocaust? Isn’t Iran’s threat to destroy Israel, enough motivation for our people to vote in favor of our own survival? I am afraid to answer my own rhetorical questions.

  3. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    BTG has repeated one of the oldest bubbemaises in Jewish history. There is exactly one source for the story about Rabbeinu Yonah: The Letter about Fanatacism by R. Hillel of Verona, written after Rabbenu Yonah died. R. Hillel was a strong proponent of the Rambam, and he sincerely believed that the burning of the Talmud was HaShem’s punishment for the burning of the Rambam. However, there are no other sources for this story. One would think that if Rabbenu Yonah went around Europe, someone would have written a contemporary report about it. No one did, because it just didn’t happen.

  4. L. Oberstein says:

    BTG, I agree with what you write,but want to add that I don’t believe that deep doswn any sane Jew is really against the existence of the State of Israel. They talk as if they do but it is empty posturing. A Jew has to understand the fact that Israel saved Judaism after the Holocaust, provided a home for refugees and allowed the blossoming of a proud, strong, Jewish nation after two millenia of exile. I did recently hear a Kollel person say that it would perhaps have been better if Israel had not come into being ,but he can’t possibly believe that. If he does, than, Hashem Yerachem. I think it is taking Israel for granted to say such narishkeit. It is like a child who takes his parents for granted until they are gone or cease to pay his bills. It is selfish and immature to say that Israel should not have been established, if you are a Jew.

  5. BTG says:

    They can mask it in anti-Medina piety, but that message is hard to contain and I can tell you that there more people that hate the government of Israel in Williamsburg and Lakewood than there were at the Democratic convention.

    When cartloads of the Talmud and other precious Seforim were burnt in Paris in 1240, Rabbeinu Yonah said that it was the directly related to his campaign against the Morah Nevuchim of the Rambam. People mistook his zealotry and ran off with it, burning copies of the Morah Nevuchim all over Europe. Rabbeinu Yonah felt he was directly responsible and spent the end of his days travelling around Europe to restore the honor that the Rambam deserved. I am not that old, but I have seen the transition in the Yeshiva world (and especially amongst Chasidim), now proud to tout their anti-zionism and anti-Israelism, as if it’s a badge of courage. Now we have “leaders” of Klal Yisroel get up at the Asifa in CitiField and talk about how we’ve overcome “Zionism” as if Israel is a foreign entity with none of our brethren there.

  6. Henry Silberman says:

    I wonder what would have happened had they separated the two issues. I suspect that G-d would have met the 2/3 required and Jerusalem would not have.

    In fact, I think the two issues were conflated to avoid this obvious slight to the Jewish community. I don’t think the powers that be could have dreamed that the response to the proposal would be so negative.

    There is clearly reason for concern

  7. L. Oberstein says:

    I am so disgusted by the attempt to take out the Jerusalem issue and to remove G-d from the Platform that it has pushed me over the edge. At this moment, i feel that the party of Truman and Johnson has been overtaken by a radical fringe. Debbie Wasserman Schultz can try to wiggle out of this but the ideologues on the Platform Committee drove me out of the tent, at least for this point in time. That being said, this is because Israel is my number one issue and I want Israel to have the best support possible in the government of the USA. I do not think the Repiublcans offer a viable way for the United States to remain and maintain its status as a first rate world power with a first rate education system and with a policy that will welcome foreign born scientists and others to these shores. The Republican Platform is so ignorant of what is needed to save our nation from second rate status that it could have been written by a dodo bird. If,despite this, I can’t vote for Obama, I must be pretty angry. The tragedy is that my liberal friends are more liberal than Jewish and that is a crying shame.

  8. lacosta says:

    1. not true that 90% of the frum community will vote Dem. but doubtless there are elements of O society that would vote democrat for the welfare component alone , or maybe exclusively for that reason [ certainly not for their public morals agenda]

    2. villaraigosa pounded thru the resolution that clearly failed. viewing an anti-zionist site like Mondoweiss.net shows their disappointment that the Israel lobby overrides the power of the people

    3. if only a roll call vote could have been taken—to show the DemoJews that their party representatives [especially from university and minority elements–both the mother’s milk of virulent anti-zionism] are both anti-israel and apparantly anti-Gd as well….

  9. dovid2 says:

    “Hope Jews in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and elsewhere were listening.”

    I would add to the list the Jews from New Square, as well as some very active commentators on this blog.

  10. Aryeh Lieb says:

    And yet 90% of us will vote Democrat in the upcoming election. Most Jews no longer worship G-d, as he’s been replaced by Leftism, often re-packaged as “Tikkun Olam.” This whole business with the platform change will be quickly swept under the rug by the media and others who believe their progressive causes transcend veracity.

  11. David F. says:

    I’ve never officially aligned myself with either party although I lean more to the conservative side of politics, but it’s hard not to notice how the Democrat Party has been hijacked by anti-Israel sentiment. It’s a terrible pity too because Jewish interests require two strong parties each of whom vies for their votes. The Democrats increasingly are making it clear that only some of them do but a vocal minority couldn’t care less for Israel. The liberal Jews will continue to vote for them because they’re incapable of doing otherwise, but those on the fence, will certainly head in a different direction.

  12. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    With all due respect to those who decry the refusal to place foreign embassies in Jerusalem, it should be noted that under the original UN partition plan of 1947, Jerusalem was to be internationalized and placed under UN jurisdiction. The 1949 boundary lines were deemed temporary, pending a final agreement that never came into place. However, under the original partition plan, Israel was expected to give up Jerusalem and let it fall under UN jurisidiction (as was Jordan with that part of Jerusalem that it occupied). Many of us are fond of reminding the world that the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank (and Egypt’s occupation of Gaza) were not recognized by the world save for two nations, Pakistan and Great Britain. However, the same principle that dictated nonrecognition of the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) also dictated nonrecognition of Israel’s occupation of West Jerusalem.

    The only similar situation I have found in history is the recognition of St. Petersburg as Russia’s capital in the 1700s. St. Petersburg was founded around 1709 by Russia on land technically belonging to Sweeden. It was not recognized as the Russian capital until after Sweeden formally ceded the land to Russia under the Treaty of Nystaad tne years later. After the treaty of Nystaad, foreign countries moved their embassies, legations, and missions out of Moscow.

    It will take an agreement among all the parties in the mideast (and the UN as well) before any American administration moves its embassy to Jerusalem. The diplomatic cost of moving it before that would be too high, which is why three Republican administrations (and at least one Democratic administration) have broken campaign promises to do so. Of course, the chances of getting any kind of agreement out of Arab nations who want to see Israel cease its existence is nill.

  13. BTG says:

    I’m not a Democrat, but even I could tell they were not booing Israel or G-d, but rather the high-handedness of the Chairman in trying to put something back on the platform. Can we at least have some recognition for Obama who made sure that these items were put back on the platform? Or is the Frum/Republican paranoia too ingrained?

  14. Bob Miller says:

    Jews with self-respect, remove yourselves from the Democratic Party in thought and action.

  15. langer says:

    as a life long democrat—watching yesterday vote on Jerusalem—is still extremely shocking the morning after—can any israel loving Jew be part of this enterprise that boo’s our very existence.

  16. Jill Schaeffer says:

    The Democratic Convention tries desperately to be rational but has managed to turn reason against itself by eliminating G-d from the platform. So the DNC tried to “turn” itself around. There is nothing irrational about mentioning G-d. Nothing untoward about HaShem. It’s the way G-d is mentioned or used (abused) that makes for problems. So I really liked the Rabbi’s use of spreading “G-d consciouness” through Jerusalem. He didn’t say “Jewish consciousness or Christian consciousness or Muslim consciousness, but “G-d consciousness.” I’ll buy that (or have bought into that a long time ago). Thank you Rabbi

    [Thank YOU, Jill. Ed. note: the author of the comments is a Presbyterian minister who works diligently on behalf of fair treatment for Israel.]

  17. dr. bill says:

    A sad observation: No one in the hall cared enough to oppose putting God back in the platform; in or out it does not really matter to them. Jerusalam engendered real passion with Democrats confusing where the US puts its embassy with Israel’s right to choose the location of its capital. In any case, le-chol ha-deyot, Israel is no longer the US’s most imporant ally in the Middle East. Hope Jews in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and elsewhere were listening.