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The ADC has expressed its alarm at accusations of dual loyalty and of being a “foreign agent” levelled against Michael Danby on social media. This followed revelations that Mr Danby used taxpayer funds to take out newspaper advertisement criticising ABC journalist Sophie McNeill’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In one instance, Tim Beshara, a staffer working for the Green Senator for Tasmania Peter Whish-Wilson tweeted that Danby’s behaviour was consistent with someone working for a foreign power. His tweet was later liked by Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports Steph Hodgins-May. In another tweet, media commentator Mike Carlton wrote that Danby “carries on like the agent of a foreign power.” The ADC has written to Steph Hodgins-May expressing its concerns and offering to meet with the candidate to explain the anti-Semitic history of such claims.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the ADC, issued the following statement:

“There are certain lines that should not be crossed even in passionate political discourse, and these outrageous and beyond inappropriate posts have no place in our society. The deeply troubling charges of dual loyalty levelled against Michael Danby that question his allegiance to the nation and label him a “foreign agent”, play into classic anti-Semitic stereotypes that have often been used to vilify and demonise Jews. This is the stuff of the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” dressed up in new language and recycled for contemporary audiences. While legitimate and reasoned criticisms can be made about the conduct of our elected officials, impugning anyone’s loyalty is an ugly, divisive and hurtful slur that must be roundly rejected. Such highly irresponsible comments are contrary to the values of mutual respect that are fundamental to the Australian spirit and will only mainstream intolerance. We call on those who engaged in such offensive rhetoric to offer a public apology and to pledge to maintain high standards of civil debate. The anti-Semitic tweets spewed as a response to these initial assertions demonstrate how quickly people can descend into hurling toxic and hateful smears when given the springboard.”

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Sydney Morning Herald

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For further information please contact Dr Dvir Abramovich on (03) 9272 5677.