Biden: Use of ‘Shylock’ was ‘poor choice of words’

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday commented on his use of the term “shylock” in a speech at a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation, calling the phrase, which many consider anti-Semitic, "a poor choice of words."

During the speech, Biden recalled his son's experience being stationed in Iraq and speaking with members of the military who needed legal advice. “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, um, these women and men while overseas,” Biden said.

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement, "When someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden, uses the term 'Shylocked' to describe unscrupulous moneylenders dealing with service men and women, we see once again how deeply embedded this stereotype about Jews is in society."

The term "Shylock" comes from the name of a Jewish moneylender character in William Shakespeare’s play "Merchant of Venice."

"Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day," Foxman said, according to Yahoo News. "The vice president should have been more careful."

Posted on September 17, 2014 .