WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Vice President Joseph Biden said he made a "poor choice" when he used the term "Shylocks" to refer to lenders who took advantage of returning veterans.
"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 in a statement Tuesday.
Shylock, the Jewish villain of Shakespeare's comedy The Merchant of Venice, demanded a "pound of flesh" from a client unable to repay a loan. The name became slang for money lenders, and Foxman said it "represents the medieval stereotype about Jews."
At a conference marking the Legal Services Corporation's 40th anniversary, Biden described his son Beau's experience as a returning Iraq veteran trying to help other soldiers having trouble with unscrupulous lenders. He then called them "these Shylocks who took advantage of, um, these women and men while overseas."
In his apology, Biden called Foxman a "friend and adviser" and said he had made a "poor choice of words."