World Bulletin / News Desk
Democrats have hurriedly restored language in their party platform declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel after Republicans accused them of showing weak support for the country.
Chaos ruled on the floor of the Democratic National Convention briefly as delegates and convention leaders were forced to call a voice vote three times to reinstate the language in an embarrassing turnaround.
The party also restored wording mentioning God. Democrats changed the platform language to say government should help people "make the most of their God-given potential."
But the most controversial change was about Israel. Campaign officials said it was ordered by Obama himself to reflect his own personal views.
"The news coverage made the president aware of the issue today," one campaign official said. "He directed his staff to deal with it immediately. The final language is consistent with the president's own positions."
Obama was also opposed to the God language being removed, the official said.
Presidents from both parties over the years have declared their support for making Jerusalem the capital of Israel, but have never taken the step to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv out of a belief that the future of Jerusalem should be decided through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Still, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel is a powerful statement of support for the most important U.S. ally in the Middle East and to do otherwise risks hurting a president's support from the powerful Jewish-American community.
"No votes are louder"
Obama's opponent in the Nov. 6 election, Republican Mitt Romney, is eager to drive a wedge between Obama and Jewish voters.
He traveled to Israel in July and received a warm welcome from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a cool relationship with Obama since the president proposed returning Israel to its pre-1967 borders.
Hoping to make an issue out of the platform language flap, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Obama needs to state "in unequivocal terms whether or not he believes Jerusalem is Israel's capital."
"Mitt Romney has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," she said.
Four years ago, during the last presidential campaign, the Democratic Party's platform had said "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel."
But this year that language was dropped to try to demonstrate a more even-handed position in the long-running Arab-Israeli dispute.
To reinstate the language, Democratic convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles mayor, had to call for a voice vote three times and looked uncertain as to how to proceed when the "no" votes seemed to be louder than the "yes" ones.
Eventually, he declared the measure had been approved by a two-thirds vote, prompting some shaking of heads among those in the crowd who had supported leaving the Jerusalem language out.
Obama stated his support for Jerusalem being the country's capital during a speech to AIPAC before he was president, a campaign official noted.
The status of Jerusalem is fiercely contested between the Palestinians and Israel, which occupied eastern Jerusalem during the 1967 war, and is among the thorny "final status" issues to be determined in any peace negotiations.
Most countries, including the United States, have not recognized Israel's declaration of Jerusalem as its capital and keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Republican President George W. Bush promised in a speech to AIPAC in 2000 that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as soon as he took office, but he never did.
Obama too has continued to sign a presidential waivers putting off the move, which would go against the international community's overwhelming refusal to recognize Israel's annexation of Arab East Jerusalem occupied in the 1967 war.
Some people use situation in Syria, country's fake documents to have easier access into EU
Obama has put forward new plans to anchor the US in the Arctic in order to keep up with Russia's fleet of icebreakers.
Announcement came after around 500 refugees tried to board the latest train to Vienna
Malala Yousafzai's advocacy group will launch an index to highlight gaps in secondary educational opportunities as well as gaps in donor funding
A Russian forwarding base set up in an area near Damascus controlled by Assad, will be used to combat ISIL, with thousands of Russian personnel to arrive in a few weeks.
Cactus grocery store chain decided to stop marketing Israeli fruit, vegetables in order to avoid protests outside its branches
US stepped up partner training deployments to NATO allies in Eastern Europe since Russia might target a member of the Western alliance
A car bomb has exploded at the headquarters a day after an Italian firm announced the discovery of one of biggest gas fields in the Mediterranean.
Thousands of refugees, angry at Budapest wouldn't let them leave, have scrambled onto trains that reached Germany with EU asylum rules collapsing under the strain of the mass movement.
Attackers say in statement that AMISOM troops had fled the base, situated 80 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu
Tensions over border crisis between Colombia and Venezuela that have left three soldiers and thousands of Colombians expelled from Venezuela have threatened peace talks.
'This report shows that there are still practices to expose, systems to reveal, and questions to be answered,' says privacy watchdog
German chancellor has praised Turkey for assisting millions of refugees from Syria and urged the EU to mirror their efforts to take responsibility for refugeeshumanitarian crisis.
Following pressure from BDS campaign, Veolia has pulled investment from rail project intended to link Jewish settlements
EU finance for camp to alleviate conditions for migrants seeking to get to Britain
Sense of chaos has been reflected across Europe as continent struggles to respond to biggest movement of people since World War II