Thank you, Bibi, for shooting yourself in the foot

A great classic, the pounding of Gaza on a US election year*. But this time, Benjamin Netanyahu went too far too early, losing critical support at a critical moment.

Of course he didn't get rid of Hamas, because that's not what he wants, remember? Radicals need radicals at their doorsteps to play ping pong and justify their own stronghold. The idea was to surf on the ISIS panic wave, to weaken key entry/exit points for awhile, and by fueling fear in Israel and hatred in Palestine, to comfort both governments (the Hamas, Bibi) as the only ones legitimate to defend the land against bad guys (Bibi, the Hamas).

The problem is that US elections haven't really started, and that these are mid-term elections, not presidential ones. Big guns were not compelled to publicly pledge allegiance during the conflict. Worse: more candidates might seize the opportunity to emancipate themselves from a declining, hawkish AIPAC, and to support Israel via J Street**, which represents the moderate views of a growing majority of US Jews, and a much more sustainable path to peace.

If Bibi doesn't care about international outrage, he cares about support from the US. And because he went too far, at long last, the US internal political debate about Israel has suddenly become mainstream. Most recently and notably - and significantly location / media-wise:
- The Times refusing to publish a diatribe by Elie Wiesel comparing the Hamas to Nazis
- the ad run in The New York Times where 327 survivors of the Holocaust denounce "the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza" and calling for a complete boycott of Israel
- articles condemning the AIPAC, such as the recent "Friends of Israel" by Connie Bruck in The New Yorker

Now that bad guys are exposed on both sides, it's OK to publicly challenge the AIPAC and to mention J Street. It's soon going to be not only OK, but totally P.C. to support Israel by criticizing its government.

Yes, Barack Obama needs a strategy against ISIS, but showing progress between Israel and Palestine would send very strong messages across the World. The US can truly help Israel. If John F. Kerry can't do much, mainstream American moderates have the power to help moderates become mainstream in Israel.

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* e.g. "Deja vu all over again", "Israel accepted as true the choice between its security and its ideals"
** more than ever, "J Street : It's Time"!
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