CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA // Bill Clinton and rising star Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the US Senate from Massachusetts, delivered amazing speeches on the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
But these great speeches will share headlines with the embarrassingly heavy-handed tactics used by the convention leadership to pander on Israel. The party has only itself to blame for a negative story, which for a time threatened to upend the Convention's press coverage.
The problems began shortly after the 2012 convention platform was passed on Tuesday, and it was noted that the section on the Middle East did not mention Jerusalem. Attacks came quickly from predictable sources - Republicans and some pro-Israel Members of Congress. Unable to take the heat, convention leaders attempted to silence critics by taking the unprecedented action of changing the platform after it had already been approved by the delegates.
Shortly after the opening of yesterday's session, the convention's chairman called for a suspension of the rules and then called for an amendment to the platform that would add to this year's language a passage from the 2008 platform referring to Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.
He then called for a vote and got the surprise of his life. The amendment needed a two-thirds approval to pass, but from the sound of the "nays" it was clear that the amendment hadn't passed. Flustered, the chairman said, "Let's try that again" only to get the same result. Then after a brief consultation, he once again called for a vote. Getting the same result, he decided to ignore the will of the delegates and instead announced that the amendment had passed. Many delegates booed the decision.
The press had a field day with these antics, with reporters seeking out the many Arab American delegates in attendance for comments. Television covered the debacle and for a while major online publications featured it as their front-page story, with this bungled effort to steamroller the convention becoming a dominant news story of the day.
Now I can't get too incensed about the actual language changes that were made since, in reality, the added section on Jerusalem is both vague and inconsequential.
The original clause portion read: "It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians ... 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 new clause, amended with language from the 2008 platform is: "Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."
What this means is that Israel will have its capital in Jerusalem but that its final status must be negotiated and the city be open and undivided.
It is important to note that there is no mention about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem - again, the issue must be negotiated - nor does it claim that Israel should have sovereignty over the entire city. And nothing in this language contradicts the notion of Jerusalem as an open city with two capitols under joint Israeli-Palestinian sovereignty.
So the amended language, despite its clear intent to pander, is not really the most serious problem. It was the heavy-handed and disrespectful way this was done that has so disturbed Arab Americans and many other Democrats. And not only are Arab Americans aggrieved. The party, the convention and the president took a negative hit in the end because of the way this entire affair was handled.
Mr Clinton and Ms Warren were stars who shone brightly last night. The former president gave one of the great political speeches of his career, contrasting the policies and values of President Obama with those of his opponent, Mitt Romney. He made a powerful case for Obama's reelection and excited and inspired the delegates.
What should be troubling to convention organisers is that commentators will not only be discussing today the themes laid out in these major addresses. They will also be distracted by the scene of heavy-handed pandering that took place at the beginning of yesterday's session.
James Zogby is president of the Arab American Institute (www.aaiusa.org and Twitter at @aaiusa)