There is a chant frequently shouted during Quds Day marches around the world: “Khybar Khybar ya Yahud, Jaish Muhammad sa Yahud!” It means “Khybar Khybar oh Jews, Muhammad’s army will return for you.” This chant refers to the single day massacre committed in 628 A.D. of approximately 900 Jewish men and boys from the village of Khybar in Saudi Arabia. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is the more socially acceptable expression of the same sentiment. These are blantantly antisemitic chants by people who believe there should be no Jews living in Israel.

There’s a common misperception about the meaning of the term “Israeli occupation.” Most people believe it means the presence of IDF soldiers patrolling and oppressing Arabs on the streets of Gaza. In fact, since 2005, there have not been any Jews living in Gaza, nor Israeli soldiers patrolling the streets. That year, the Israeli government forced every Jew to evacuate the coastal enclave, many at gunpoint. A few months after achieving its goal of a Jew-free zone, HAMAS launched some 1,200 rockets over the border into Southern Israel. What occupation were they fighting?

Any territory formerly under Islamic rule, which is currently not under Islamic rule is considered occupied. Therefore, HAMAS, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups continually launch attacks at Israel because they are fighting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish Homeland.

Israel has a right and duty to defend itself from militants and nations committed to its destruction. It cannot be expected to idly allow missiles to rain down on Israeli civilians without taking military measures to eliminate its enemies’ weapons stockpiles.

No nation under attack takes greater measures to prevent harming civilians. Before every airstrike, the Israelis telephone civilians in the strike zone with 2-3 hours advance notice to evacuate. “Knock-knocks” (rockets without warheads) are then dropped, to give another 3-15 minutes advance warning. After military actions, Israel immediately sends trucks into Gaza laden with recovery supplies.

Israel has the right to defend itself, and there is no nation on earth that conducts its military defense in a more humane fashion. I stand with Israel.