EHUD OLMERT'S first visit to Washington as Israel's prime minister has been eventful. What with meeting President Bush at the White House, addressing a joint session of Congress, and taking part in all the other social and substantive activities that get packed into a Washington summit, Olmert probably hasn't had much time to hang out and watch TV. So he may not have seen a new television ad that takes aim directly at Israel's ongoing campaign of territorial surrender.
The ad pulls no punches. Israeli withdrawals from south Lebanon and Gaza, it says, have played into Al Qaeda's hands and increased the terror threat "for Israel and for us." Olmert's proposed "convergence" program in the West Bank -- a follow-up to last year's unilateral retreat from the Gaza Strip, when 21 communities were destroyed and 9,000 Israelis were expelled -- will only intensify that threat. "Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," the ad bitingly observes. "We cannot afford any more of this insanity."
Condemnation of the Jewish state by its detractors is nothing new, but this TV spot isn't the work of an Israel-basher. It is part of a campaign launched by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington think tank committed to pursuing international peace through American strength. For years, the center has staunchly supported Israel's right to defend itself against its enemies. Why is such a longtime ally so publicly opposing the new prime minister and his signature policy?
The same question might be asked of Joseph Farah, the editor of WorldNetDaily and one of Israel's most outspoken Christian defenders. In a recent column headlined "I give up on Israel," Farah said he was appalled by Olmert's determination to hand over more than 90 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority, describing that as a "national retreat" and "appeasement of the global jihad." Last summer's evacuation from Gaza, he wrote, was an "unmitigated disaster." Hamas, an Islamist terror organization, now controls the territory and is turning it into a Taliban-style haven to be used as a staging ground for further attacks. To replicate such a debacle on an even larger scale in the West Bank is not statesmanship, but stupidity.
"I'm through making excuses for Israel," a disillusioned Farah declared. "I'm through trying to understand the incomprehensible moves of a self-flagellating nation."
It isn't only in TV spots and on the Internet that Israel's plans for another destabilizing self-expulsion are being blasted. Hundreds of pro-Israel/anti-Olmert protesters descended on Capitol Hill yesterday, some traveling hundreds of miles to urge the Bush administration to refuse its support for another Israeli retreat. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, former CIA director James Woolsey pointed out that a "West Bank terrorist state" -- the foreseeable result of the Olmert plan -- would mortally threaten not only Israel but also its moderate Arab neighbor, Jordan. "Israeli concessions will also make the US look weak," Woolsey warned. Washington's approval of yet another territorial surrender to Hamas and its allies will signal that we are "reverting to earlier behavior patterns -- fleeing Lebanon in 1983, acquiescing in Saddam Hussein's destruction of the Kurdish and Shi'ite rebels in 1991, fleeing Somalia in 1993." Those behavior patterns eventually led to 9/11.
In a democracy, it is said, people get the leaders they deserve. Israeli voters chose Olmert in a free and fair election, knowing full well that he intended to "disengage" from the enemy by giving more land. If that enemy threatened only the people of Israel, perhaps a case could be made for letting them lie in the bed they themselves have made.
But Israel's enemy -- a murderous Palestinian regime and the international terror network of which it is a part -- is our enemy, too. "By Allah," proclaimed Sheik Ibrahim Mudayris in a sermon broadcast on Palestinian TV, "the day will come and we shall rule America. . . . We shall rule the entire world." When Florida teenager Daniel Wultz was horribly wounded in a recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, terrorist leaders rejoiced that an American was among the casualties. After Daniel died of his injuries last week, Abu Nasser of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades cheered the news as "a gift from Allah" and promised Americans "more Daniel Wultzes and more pain and sorrow."
Israel cannot afford to succumb once again to the delusion that retreating in the face of terror will bring safety and peace of mind. Wars are not won by evacuations, as Winston Churchill told his British countrymen in 1940. Israelis, weary after so many years under siege, wish to pretend otherwise? Then it is up to their friends to tell them the truth.