Biden says use of 'offensive' term shylock was a poor choice


(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his use of the term “shylock,” which some consider anti-Semitic, was “a poor choice of words.”
His statement came a day after the national director of the Anti-Defamation League issued a mild rebuke of the vice president’s use of the word, saying Biden “should have been more careful.”
At a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation, Biden recalled anecdotes from his son’s experience serving in Iraq and meeting members of the military who were in need of legal help because of problems back at home.
“That’s one of the things that he finds was most in need when he was over there in Iraq for a year,” Biden said, “that 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.”
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman issued a reprimand later Tuesday.
“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, first reported by Yahoo News.


the national director of the Anti-Defamation League issued a** mild rebuke ** of the vice president’s use of the word, saying Biden “should have been more careful.”

And if it had been W who’d referred to “shylocks”…


The Vice President gets virtually unlimited passes. There was the “put y’all back in chains” comment. The “articulate and clean” comment about the President. The “you can’t go to a 7-Eleven/Indian accent” comment. The time he parodied an Indian accent when talking about call centers. And these are just some of the racial ones, he’s said plenty of other offensive things.

When a prominent conservative says these things, it’s a confirmation that both the speaker personally, and their party collectively harbors bigotry. When a prominent Democrat says these things, it’s a “mistake” and doesn’t reflect on the them personally or their party. :shrug:




The sad part is most people under the age of 30 probably have no idea what he was referring to.


Previously, I’d never even heard of this word:


Get thee to a library! :stuck_out_tongue:


Moe Howard of the 3 Stooges, who was Jewish once called a guy a Shylock in an episode.


Or you could look at in a positive manner, they have no idea because the word has almost completely left our cultural vocabulary, well except for Democrat politicians. :slight_smile:


Yep. And many will disagree if someone states there is no media bias. Funny how the VP gets a complete pass for multiple racial and other offensive comments, but when a Republican does something similar, like the VA govenor’s race, all hell breaks loose.


Nice to see that the PC Police sic their guard dogs on everyone.

Oh wait. :eek: No, not nice.

I find myself defending Biden on this … even if I don’t agree with him (I haven’t yet read the full context of what he said … and usually I don’t agree with him).

But Biden may have read Shakespeare as a youth. The character of Shylock was a memorable one (and a villian). Shylock was a Jew. But that is not what made him an evil character.

If what Biden meant by using the once very descriptive adjective “Shylock” was - BAD Lawyer using the law(s) in the worst possible way - as he seems to IMO - I’d be OK with that.

In the PC culture there is power in shouting "j’accuse"! and thereby donning the mantle of the righter of wrongs in the fields of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism etc. etc. Incidentally (or deliberately) damaging the character and reputation of the accused (sometimes falsely!).

It might be another thing if Biden actually had the idea to use the word to proliferate some anti-Semitism - but that is not the sense I got in hearing him.

Biden’s apology? I don’t know if it’s good news or bad. An apologizing Vice President (for what could be a rather innocuous statement - to me) makes PC more powerful than ever. WATCH what you say … or a crippling accusation may be coming your way.

It also demonstrates that quite powerful people must quickly bow to the power of PC as enforced by a media that brings up the possibility (probability … or more?) of, in this case anti-Semitism - and so … how much more should the average person fear being labelled with a PC violation.

As some people will consider Biden’s reference to Shylock as at least a veiled anti-Semitic reference - it’s good that he at least clarifies that that is not the case.

There still are “Shylocks” (of any or no religious creed, and any ethnic group) that prey upon people by their unscrupulous application(s) of the law - and their devious knowledge of how legal systems work. This is why I think the adjective is one that is quite apt in some cases. But having said that … I may not defend its use again. PC police ***might ***tag me. :onpatrol: Even though I don’t approve of anti-Semitism - or the proliferation of stereotypes that might cause trouble in our already unpeaceful world. :coolinoff:

(Shylock’s character is from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”)


It doesn’t take a Shylock Holmes to discover that Joe Biden is several cards short of a full deck. He learned the term “shylock” from the Bosniacs, I hear, while carrying Barack Obama’s “big stick”. :wink:


Regardless of the Bard’s intention, the Shylock character was appropriated by anti-Semites long ago.


“Get thee to a Nunnery!”


Guess that makes it OK then…


If Cheney had said this the Left would be demanding their pound of flesh!


I agree. :sad_yes: Perhaps so much that its otherwise incisive application to

describing VERY bad lawyers who pervert the law to their own benefit

is made obsolete due to the confusion or attendant knee jerk reaction (of “anti-Semitism”!) whenever it is used now? How sad. It is so apt. And doesn’t it imply then that ALL Shylocks would have to be Jewish? When the intent of the user could simply mean “Legal manipulators of the worst sort … regardless of creed or ethnicity”.

:shrug: Ah well. I suppose we shall not see the “Uncle Tom” of literature ever referred to in a positive way (such as: He was a patient, forgiving, “turn the other cheek”, heroically persevering peaceful Christian man) either. HIS appropriation is one of a passively traitorous
black man who was not a revolutionary - and hence at best worthless in the class war.

Another shame. But other than HERE … and here as just observational commentary …
I probably won’t be tossing out either Shylock or Uncle Tom as adjectives any time soon. However appropriate the applications might otherwise be.

:onpatrol: < **They might be watchin’ and listenin’ ** :wink:


“Tis better be vile than vile esteemed”


Or, if Foxman were to demonstrate logical consistency, you could see when one uses pejoratives how deeply embedded their anti-Semetism really is.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit