Biden apologizes for using anti-Semitic term following chiding by ADL

ADL criticizes US Vice President for use of the term "Shylock" in speech referring to bank moneylenders.

September 17, 2014 18:53
1 minute read.
Joe Biden angry

US Vice President Joe Biden. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


US Vice President Joe Biden admitted on Wednesday that using the term Shylock in a speech had been a "poor choice of words," following criticism from the Anti Defamation League's (ADL).

The US vice President drew criticism from the Anti Defamation League (ADL) for using the anti-Semitic term "Shylock" in a speech.

“Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day,”  the national director of the ADL Abraham Foxman said. “The Vice President should have been more careful.”

"Abe Foxman has been a friend and adviser of mine for a long time. 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," said Biden in a statement provided by his office Wednesday.

While Biden was referring to bank and moneylenders haggling people serving the United States overseas, the term originally comes from William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.” In the play, Shylock is a Jewish moneylender, and use of the name to refer to greed has been called offensive by organizations such as the ADL, among others.

Biden used the term while speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration for the Legal Services Corporation and referred to his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, and his experience while in Iraq.

"People would come up 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.

After the clarification, the ADL praised Biden for "turning a rhetorical gaffe into a teachable moment."

“Clearly there was no ill-intent here," Foxman said, but "Joe and I agreed that perhaps he needs to bone up on his Shakespeare."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

jared kushner
July 18, 2019
Why did Kellyanne Conway ask a Jewish reporter about his ethnicity?


Cookie Settings