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‘Seems to be a Moral Equivalence Argument Being Made’: Tapper Confronts Ben Rhodes Over Kerry Speech

During an appearance on CNN today, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes attempted to explain to anchor Jake Tapper why Secretary of State John Kerry wasn’t making a moral equivalence argument when it came to Israeli settlements and terrorism from Palestinian groups.

Tapper, who earlier today tussled with Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett over the continued building of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, pressed Rhodes on why the Obama Administration is making a late focus on Israel.

Rhodes noted that Kerry’s speech was about making it known that the United States supports a two-state solution in Israel while also bringing attention that the building of settlements on Palestinian land threatens that.

The CNN host, feeling that Rhodes was avoiding the larger question, grilled him on the appearance that the administration is equating terrorism and the building of houses.

“American citizens out there, might think on one hand you have people building homes and you’re calling them illegal and detrimental to the peace process, but it’s construction,” Tapper said. “Ultimately people can leave houses. On the other hand you have people killing people and that’s just final. And that there seems to be a moral equivalence argument being made that might rub a lot of people the wrong way and confuse them.”

Rhodes responded that there was “no moral equivalence” and “no justification for terrorism” while highlighting the persistence of the Israeli government in building more settlements.

Watch the exchange above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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