UPDATE, 12:45 p.m. ET: Biden called his use of the term "Shylock" a "poor choice of words" and said the leader of the Anti-Defamation League was "right" to criticize him.
“Abe Foxman has been a friend and advisor of mine for a long time," Biden said in a statement. "He’s correct, it was a poor choice of words, particularly as he said coming from ‘someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden.’ He’s right.”
Vice President Joe Biden has drawn criticism from a prominent Jewish group after using a well-known anti-Semitic slur during a speech Tuesday.
Speaking to the Legal Services Corporation – an organization that offers legal services to those who cannot afford them – Biden referred to unscrupulous bankers who target military men and women as “Shylocks.”
Yahoo News reported that during his remarks, Biden described what his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, experienced while serving in Iraq.
“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,” Biden said.
Shylock, a Jewish moneylender, was the villain in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” who demanded a “pound of flesh” as payment on a loan.
“Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day," Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said. "The vice president should have been more careful.”
The statement evoked critical postings on Twitter, as highlighted by Twitchy.
A heartbeat away folks. A heartbeat away http://t.co/CNIX4LXJBR— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) September 17, 2014
this is another chance for the media to tell us that a Democrat's use of ethnically-insulting language is "earthy" or "folksy" @SethAMandel— iLoveScienceSexually (@AceofSpadesHQ) September 17, 2014
“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,” Foxman said.
Ironically, earlier in his speech, Biden seemed to acknowledge his reputation for being gaffe-prone.
“No one ever doubts that I mean what I say,” he said. “The problem is I sometimes say all that I mean.”
(H/T: Yahoo News)