We work in the real Hilbert space H_s of hermitian Hilbert-Schmid operators and show that the entanglement witness which shows the maximal violation of a generalized Bell inequality (GBI) is a tangent functional to the convex set S subset H_s of separable states. This violation equals the euclidean distance in H_s of the entangled state to S and thus entanglement, GBI and tangent functional are only different aspects of the same geometric picture. This is explicitly illustrated in the example of two spins, where also a comparison with familiar Bell inequalities is presented.
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