CHARLOTTE — Twice in as many days, an otherwise smooth DNC ran into choppy waters over issues related to Israel.
On Monday, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz dropped a bombshell when she claimed she was told by an Israeli diplomat that Republican attacks on Obama over Israel undermined America’s image as an unshakable ally of the Jewish state.
The Washington Examiner’s Phillip Klein reported that she said she “heard no less than Ambassador Michael Oren say this, that what the Republicans are doing is dangerous for Israel.”
But the Israeli embassy responded with a statement from Oren, denying Wasserman Schultz’s claim. On Tuesday, Wasserman Schultz denied on FOX News that she had made the remark in question, and accused the Examiner of “deliberately” misquoting her. That claim was easily disproved by an audio recording of the event, which the Examiner posted. Despite the clip, she stood her ground, calling the Examiner a “conservative gotcha-type publication” that took her quote out of context.
Soon after, another Israel-related fire broke out around the DNC’s platform. Following attacks from Republicans for removing language from its 2008 platform that declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, the DNC tried to reinsert the plank with a floor vote on Wednesday. Many delegates voted against the amendment for a variety of reasons, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ultimately declared it passed.
The DNC followed up with a statement that Obama supported the new language, a small but marked rhetorical break from the past several presidents’ position that Israel’s capital should only be resolved in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
The back-to-back Israel flare-ups are a distraction from what’s otherwise been a strong convention, featuring widely praised speeches from Michelle Obama and San Antonio mayor Julian Castro.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.