The Gaza Freedom flotilla is evidence of the shift that's taking place in international humanitarian aid. Since 2001, governments have declared aid organizations to be combatants when they help organizations considered to be terrorists.
The facts are under investigation, and time will tell which side was "legally" within its rights under international law. But legality rarely trumps public perception, and perception, not legal treatise, influences public opinion.
If the Israeli government is convinced they took the appropriate action in this case, they can go a long way toward proving that by giving us the whole tape. If not, we have to assume they're hiding something.
In response to the tragic events off the coast of Gaza this past weekend, I would like to suggest that the usual responses, which we are seeing in the form of mass protests, are actually not very helpful.
The Israeli view: If the noises we're hearing from the White House are going to mean we'll have to back down from our tough position, let's ratchet it up, so when we have to back down, we don't lose any ground.
What should the US do with Israel? If they are a friend and an ally we value, we tell them the truth. Tell them that their behavior is unacceptable and is only making the world more dangerous for us all.
Where is Israel's political leadership that is brave enough to stand up and make the nuanced argument on why this was not about the individual soldiers' behavior, but about the decisions that sent them on a bad mission.
The so-called smart money is on Harman in next Tuesday's primary, but the incumbent -- like the Israeli government -- has reason to worry. Sometimes, moral revulsion can topple defenders of the indefensible.
What matters today, at least in any conversation which claims to be driven by spiritual or religious sensibilities, is the sadness at the loss of life and continued suffering on both sides of this conflict.
To appreciate how tough it is to explain their actions, all one has to do is imagine the opposite scenario: What if it were Hamas militants that attacked humanitarian ships in international waters on their way to deliver humanitarian aid to Israel?