Israeli rocker Aviv Geffen, a longtime symbol of the peace movement, is defending Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

“You can’t come and criticize and say, ‘How dare you?’ Come and live here. No country would tolerate such a prolonged missile attack without responding,” Geffen said in an interview with the Israeli news site Ynet on Wednesday.

“I say that if you don’t live here, in this conflict, it will be very hard for you to criticize,” Geffen said.

Geffen was speaking ahead of a benefit concert Thursday for residents of southern Israel.

Geffen became one of Israel’s biggest music stars in the 1990s, starting out as a teen idol in heavy makeup who supported reconciliation with the Palestinians and did not serve in the military. He famously sang alongside Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally the evening Rabin was assassinated.

After years of rocket fire from Gaza, the current military operation has broad public support and solid backing across most of Israel’s political system, from right to center-left.