Biden Apologizes for Use of 'Shylocks'

Vice president says Jewish groups were right to take offense
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
Biden Apologizes for Use of 'Shylocks'
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a luncheon to mark the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation Tuesday in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Joe Biden got himself in hot water over another unscripted moment—his use of the word "shylocks" to describe greedy lenders who take advantage of US troops. Jewish groups immediately took offense to the anti-Semitic connotations, and Biden today apologized for his "poor choice of words," reports the Hill. The gaffe took place yesterday as the VP spoke to the Legal Services Corp. in DC, recounting how son Beau helped service members upon their return from war:

  • “People would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being—I mean, these shylocks who took advantage of these women and men while overseas,” he said.

Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said the term perpetuates an age-old stereotype of Jews. There was “no ill-intent here, but Joe and I agreed that perhaps he needs to bone up on his Shakespeare," he said today, as quoted at McClatchy DC. The term comes from Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, which features a miserly Jewish moneylender of that name. Foxman called Biden a "stalwart against anti-Semitism" and praised him for the quick mea culpa (More Joe Biden stories.)

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