As we all continue to live our daily lives in Hampstead and Highgate, the air becomes heavy with a sombre tone.

Just last Friday, at my favourite coffee spot, I couldn't help but eavesdrop on conversations that left me deeply troubled.

"To light the Shabbat candle in the window is not safe anymore and may not be a good idea in these times." These times?

As a German, I grew up believing that such words would never need to be spoken, and thoughts like that would never need to be considered again. Yet, here we are, not in Berlin in 1933, but in London in 2023.

I raised the Israeli flag at Camden's Conservative headquarters last week, a move that wasn't without its share of criticism, even in these pages.

I took a stand against those who tore down posters, reminders of the innocent Jewish children snatched and kidnapped by Hamas from the lifeless arms of their parents, who met their end slaughtered before their very eyes. I spoke their names, and I write one here to share with you, representing a hundred more - Ed Avis, four years old!

Ham & High: Marx de Morais does not regret putting up an Israeli flagMarx de Morais does not regret putting up an Israeli flag (Image: Marx de Morais)

I'll be frank, I'd rather not put these distressing words to paper, and I don't relish the idea of making you, dear reader, uncomfortable. But it's a must, because this reality is brutal to the point of disbelief.

To truly grasp it, we must be shaken to our core. Beheadings, the burning of infants — these horrors are visited upon innocent Jewish and Arab Israelis.

When I, a man born in Germany, face accusations of stoking tensions by speaking out against hatred directed at the innocent in Israel. When I, a confidant to many Jewish neighbours, supposedly fan the flames by saying, "My heart goes out to everyone who is affected by the current situation," then, as a descendant of perpetrators, I know it's time to take a stand.

I refuse to believe that talking is futile, and I reject the notion that we're trapped in a cycle of hate. To those who let their animosity toward Israel and the Jewish people run rampant on London's streets today, I implore you, please reconsider.

If you yearn for peace over animosity, let it begin here, in London.

If you can't bear to accept that our Jewish friends and neighbours walk these streets with hearts gripped by fear, then don't align yourself with a mob that wishes to cast them into the abyss. Be furious that the streets of Golders Green stand empty, the lights dimmed on Friday nights.

Be outraged that for many, practising Judaism must be done behind closed doors. And together, let's remember the fallen, and pray for the cessation of hatred, so that peace may descend, transforming the Holy Land into one that all, in Israel or Palestine, yearn for. I extend my deepest gratitude, to you, dear reader.

  • Marx de Morais is a member of the Camden Conservative Party.