On Friday Colin Kahl was named Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser and deputy assistant to the president. Kahl previously served in the Obama administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East between 2009-2011, but is probably best known for his work outside of government—in particular, for advocating containment of a nuclear Iran, and for his part in trying to remove the recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel from the 2012 Democratic platform.
President Obama sent a memorandum to Secretary of State John Kerry to direct him not to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to the capital city Jerusalem. Despite U.S. law, the embassy is currently in Tel Aviv, though there's an American consulate in Jerusalem.
As Barack Obama has done throughout his presidency, and as previous presidents did before him, here's the memo sent today to John Kerry:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
SUBJECT: Suspension of Limitations under the Jerusalem Embassy Act
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo, the State Department announced. Here's the announcement:
Secretary Clinton will depart today on travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo, leaving from the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She will meet with regional leaders, starting with our Israeli partners, to consult on the situation in Gaza.
The State Department today again refused to name the capital of Israel, even after being questioned by the press and even after the Democratic party (President Obama's party) voted yesterday to add language to its platform stating that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Here's the remarkable exchange from today's press briefing, with reporters and press secretary Patrick Ventrell:
Rabbi David Wolpe offered the benediction last night at the Democratic convention and made sure to emphasize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. "[Y]ou have taught us that we must count on one another; that our country is strong through community, and that the children of Israel on the way to that sanctified and cherished land, and ultimately to that golden and capital city of Jerusalem, that those children of Israel did not walk through the wilderness alone," said Wolpe.
An Obama campaign official confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD that President Obama “personally” intervened to alter the Democratic platform to include a reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The new platform, adopted this evening at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, now includes pro-Israel language that the previous document did not.
Democratic party heads rammed through the revised platform, which includes updated pro-Israel language and the mention of God, against the clear wishes of those voting at the convention in Charlotte. Here's video of the chaos:
The vote to adopt the new platform requires two-thirds. It's pretty clear that even after asking for multiple votes, two-thirds of the vote was not received. The revised platform was adopted anyway.