President Obama was famously outraged at Netanyahu for building Jewish apartments in Israel's capital -- a capital that neither the State Department nor the White House spokesman would identify as Jerusalem -- and yet, he has never publicly chastised Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for refusing to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state."
What remains in the Democratic platform is just as disturbing as what was revised.
In 2008, the platform proclaimed:
"The United States ... should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements ... The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel."
Any proposed "settlement" of the Palestinian question that permits Palestinians to exercise a claimed "right of return" to settle in Israel represents an existential threat, as Israel could be swamped by Arab immigrants, adding to the one-fifth of Israel's population that is already Arab.
But the 2012 platform, after the usual bromides about U.S./Israeli friendship, reads, "A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state."
The reference to isolating Hamas is gone. The rejection of a "right of return" to Israel for Palestinians is gone. Instead, we see code words about Israel sustaining its character as a "Jewish and democratic state." This is the language of Israel's critics, who warn darkly that Israel cannot continue to rule over the West Bank and maintain its democratic bona fides. But Israel has no desire to rule the West Bank, as it has amply demonstrated (it evacuated Gaza and has granted near total autonomy to the Palestinians in the West Bank). Only the threat of violence and terror keeps a single Israeli soldier on the West Bank.
The platform manages to patronize the Jewish state about maintaining its soul, while minimizing the belligerence of its enemies and the threats to its existence. The embarrassing floor spectacle merely underlined the obvious coolness that a majority of Democrats -- very much including the incumbent president -- feel toward Israel, their fulsome denials notwithstanding.