Bashing Israel has become fashionable in many Western circles, but in the Middle East it doesn't work anymore.
For decades in the Middle East the most reliable political tool often seemed to be the Israel card; condemning Israel, blaming it for the Arab world's problems, and claiming that those who were insufficiently militant on the issue were traitors.
But the Israel card doesn't work anymore, at least not in the way it used to. True, the rise of revolutionary Islamism has focused more hatred against Israel. Yet at the same time - and this analogy is imperfect - it is less of a single-issue movement. As revolutionary Islamists seek to destroy their rivals (nationalist, moderates and each other) and fundamentally transform their own societies, they are kept pretty busy.
Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official and supposed moderate, may insist that Israel is the main enemy of the Arabs and Muslims, but the Arabs and Muslims aren't paying much attention. The Palestinian Authority, which his group runs - and which rules only on the West Bank - has no Middle Eastern patron at all.
The Sunni-Shia conflict is deepening, with clashes already taking place in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and above all Syria. Indeed, the Syrian civil war is a full-scale contest between the two blocs. Even Muslim Brotherhood think tanks have said that the Shia, and especially Iran, are a more dangerous threat than is Israel.
The chance that these two blocs would cooperate against Israel is close to zero. It was different a few years ago. Before the "Arab Spring," Iran seemed set to become the region's Muslim superpower. If Tehran obtained nuclear weapons (sometimes referred to as the "Islamic bomb") it was expected to wield growing influence throughout the Arab world.
Today, however, that situation has reversed itself. Sunni Arabs, whether they are Islamists or anti-Islamists, openly hate and fear Iran. A nuclear weapon in Tehran's hands would not increase its strategic or political influence. Iran faces a Sunni wall against its ambitions and it is almost without Arab allies.
As for Hezbollah, Iran's sole reliable ally, it is not able to attack Israel from southern Lebanon. Thousands of its soldiers are tied up in Syria to keep an arms supply route open, help the Bashar Assad regime win, and protect Shia villagers. It also faces growing opposition from Sunni Muslims, financed by the Saudis and stirred up by hatred over Hezbollah's actions in Syria, within Lebanon itself. Plus the fact that the Lebanese don't want to be victimized by Hezbollah going to war with Israel given the damage suffered in the late round in 2006.
This is not, of course, due only to the Sunni-Shia issue. There has also been a sharp revival of Arab identity against the Turks and Persians. The region's history of such ethnic clashes has been revived. If the Syrian civil war ends in a rebel victory, the winners will soon turn against their Turkish patrons. Indeed, while the trade between the two countries is still growing, the Syria issue has driven a deep rift between Turkey and Iran, who are supporting opposite sides.