There are moments, often quite fleeting, when the masks donned by politicians briefly fall away, revealing the true person who lies beneath the carefully cultivated layers of spin and sophistry.
Kamala Harris had just such a moment last week. And it wasn't pretty.
Speaking at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, to mark National Voter Registration Day, the vice president of the United States took a question from a student that was as fallacious as it was foolish.
The student, who identified herself as Iranian and Yemeni, said that "just a few days ago there were funds allocated to continue backing Israel, which hurts my heart because it's an ethnic genocide and a displacement of people, the same that happened in America, and I'm sure you're aware of this."
Rather than denouncing or contradicting this appalling accusation of "ethnic genocide" against America's best friend in the Middle East, Harris chose instead to nod respectfully and then failed to counter the antisemitic libel.
Worse yet, Harris proceeded to praise the student, saying she was "glad" she had raised the subject, before adding, "this is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth, should not be suppressed and it must be heard, right?"
This is what Barack Obama must have meant by the term "a teachable moment," for we just learned a heck of a lot about Kamala Harris.
To begin with, her failure to rebut the assault on Israel's legitimacy speaks volumes in and of itself. In carefully crafted press releases and speeches put together by her staff, Harris will, of course, mumble mantras of support for the Jewish state. But when left bare and unscripted, her instinct is not to refute the slandering of Israel but, rather, to affirm it as a form of "truth."
It's no wonder that the Iranian government-owned Press TV was quick to tweet out a video of Harris's performance.
No less appalling was her suggestion that there are many truths, which is a form of moral relativism that serves only to muddy the waters and confer an air of legitimacy on outright falsehoods.
Back in January 2017, when Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to president Donald Trump, used the term "alternative facts" in a Meet the Press interview when describing the size of the crowd at the presidential inauguration, she was widely ridiculed.
Yet that is precisely what Harris just did, effectively saying that to view Israel as a murderous, genocidal entity is as valid as any other opinion.
Moreover, in telling the student that her position should "not be suppressed," she seemed to suggest that the Palestinian side of the story goes unheard.
Does Harris actually believe that the Palestinian narrative has been "suppressed"? That it isn't given a steady and uncritical airing by most news outlets around the world? Or that the lies, slander, historical fiction and twisting of facts regularly peddled by Palestinian spokesmen don't get a wide hearing?
After coming under withering criticism, Harris and her staff tried to walk back the incident and reaffirm her support for Israel. But the damage was done.
SINCE THE vice president of the United States found the time and patience to listen attentively to a young and ignorant American college student, I am hoping she will indulge me for a few lines to hear my truth.
Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, built on millennia of Jewish yearning and suffering in exile. Our right to this land is based on faith, history, morality and necessity.
The State of Israel is the Noah's Ark of the Jewish people, preserving us from the storms of persecution and the torrential downpours of antisemitism that have stricken us across the centuries.
We have been under attack since the moment independence was declared, surrounded by hostile forces who seek our destruction. We have gone out to battle not because we wanted to, but because we had to. And even when we did so, we went to great lengths to harm only those who sought to do us harm. To suggest otherwise is intellectually dishonest and morally obtuse.
We do not apologize for surviving and do not seek forgiveness for refusing to succumb to the relentless assaults on our national dignity and integrity.
Thanks to divine providence, the Jewish people has returned to its land, rebuilding its ruins, settling its empty expanses and laying the foundations for a thriving and prosperous democracy amid a sea of tyranny.
The thirst for freedom and the desire to create a just society are values shared by Americans and Israelis alike.
How sad it is that the vice president of the United States, who is just a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land, has lost sight of these basic truths.