JUST three weeks ago, I led an almost unanimous call by Glasgow councillors for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

We expressed our unequivocal sympathy and solidarity with Glasgow’s Jewish community, who suffered terrible loss and trauma in the horrifying terrorist attacks by Hamas, but also expressed our outrage at the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli government’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Since then, that humanitarian crisis has turned into a daily slaughter. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed. Close to 5000 of them are children.

Hospitals are under siege and babies in incubators have died for want of electricity. It is impossible not to be haunted by the images on our TV screens of Palestinian families mourning over the tiny, broken bodies of their lost children.

Tens of thousands of people across these islands – including here in Glasgow – have taken to the streets to express their revulsion and anger. They have every right to do so – indeed, that right to public protest is a necessity and must be protected from the increasingly authoritarian policies of the UK Government.

But as we express our anger, we must also remain vigilant and steadfast in opposing hate crime and abuse of any group in society. Although they are a tiny minority of those marching, it has been disturbing to see some banners carrying anti-Semitic slogans.

No matter how shocking the behaviour of the Israeli government, there is no justification for taking it out on ordinary Jewish people, especially those in our own communities, who are still counting their own losses and who are no more responsible for the actions of Benjamin Netanyahu than the ordinary people of Gaza are for Hamas terrorism.

And it was truly disgusting to see the racist English Defence League exploiting the conflict to parade their hatred of Muslims at the Cenotaph on Saturday, egged on by the now former home secretary. They were the ones desecrating Armistice Day, not the people marching for peace.

There are already too many victims in this conflict; there must be zero tolerance of those attempting to use it as a justification for either anti-Semitic or Islamophobic hate crimes.

I have been very proud of the leadership shown by our First Minister Humza Yousaf, who has shown personal strength and political courage since the outset of this conflict – in stark contrast to the utter moral failure of both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer.

But it is Humza’s empathy that has been most important – openly sharing the sorrow and grief of Scotland’s Jewish community and acknowledging the great wrong that had been done to them, even as he and his wife Nadia El-Nakla were living in terror for their own family in Gaza.

That empathy is the quality we need most right now and it must be the driving force behind our demands for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to this conflict.