Jewish groups have strongly defended controversial Labor MP Michael Danby over taxpayer-funded advertisements he took out in a newspaper attacking an ABC journalist, arguing he has been unjustly targeted.

Mr Danby, who has been publicly encouraged to retire by Labor sources, retains his inner metropolitan seat of Melbourne Ports largely because of support from the Jewish community.

Labor leader Bill Shorten was reported to be “deeply unimpressed” that Mr Danby used public money for two half-page ads in The Australian Jewish News criticising ABC journalist Sophie McNeill for her coverage of the Middle East conflict.

But Anton Block, president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said the Labor MP was “correct” in his criticism of McNeill, and accused Mr Danby’s detractors of hypocrisy for their silence over Greens senator Lee Rhiannon’s​ use of taxpayer funds to promote a boycott of Israel.

Read the article by Michael Koziol in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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