After coming under criticism from the head of a Jewish organization after he used the word "Shylocks" in a speech, Vice President Biden acknowledged making a "poor" word choice.
In a statement responding to Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman, Biden said Foxman was right to express his disapproval.
"Abe Foxman has been a friend and advisor 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.
In a statement first reported by Yahoo News Tuesday, Foxman said: “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. Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day. The vice president should have been more careful.”
In a Tuesday speech at the Legal Services Corporation's 40th anniversary conference, Biden explained that his son Beau Biden, who has served in Iraq, would hear from members of the military who got bad loans and mortgages.
"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 is a Jewish character in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." He is a villain in the play who asks for a "pound of flesh" from another character who is unable to repay a loan.