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Charlie Crist signs law scrubbing "shylock" from Florida books

Citing Florida’s rich diversity, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill removing the terms “shylock” and “shylocking” from state law, language dating back to William Shakespeare that is considered anti-Semitic.

“I think one of Florida’s greatest strengths, obviously, is our diversity, and the fact that we have such a strong sense of mutual respect for all races, all religions, all people,” Crist said.

The term comes from Shakespeare’s 16th-Century play, Merchant of Venice. The Jewish character Shylock is a loan shark who demands a pound of flesh as repayment from a debtor.

State lawmakers inserted the term, synonymous with loan shark, into Florida’s usury laws in 1969. The Anti-Defamation League urged lawmakers to repeal the language, arguing it reinforced negative stereotypes about Jews as “money hungry.”

“Shylock is dead, but Shakespeare isn’t really dead. We'll still be reading Shakespeare,” said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, who sponsored the bill. She added: “This state did the right thing by eliminating shylock from state statutes, which really is pejorative and demeaning to all Jewish people.”

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Well, here we go again. Everyone knows the jews are the basest of people who will do anything for a buck. Even Jesus told the jews they can't serve God and money. Just look at who runs the porno industry, who are the majority of musicians that sing about satan, who pollute the minds of our children with sexual imagery - don't need to go any further.

Three stereotypes: 1) "Lazy Mexican" - I was a foreman in a bakery, and always grabbed any Mexican workers I could. I found they have they highest work-ethic of any group. They were deliberately smeared. 2) "Perfidious Japanese" - They were forced to move to less-desirable locations by power-plants, dams & utilities. Then, when war came, they were accused of moving there deliberately. Their culture stresses loyalty, almost to a fault. Wartime intelligence files revealed that only three Black Dragon organization operatives ever penetrated the Japanese-American community. 3) Jews - They have the highest rate of philanthropy in comparison with income. Each of these stereotypes is particularly offensive, given that they directly contradict the target cultures' core values.

My oh my how touchy this ROGUE ADL has become. The reference of SHYLOCK in the good book , The Merchant of Venice, was never mentioned as a JEW, just a CROOKED LAWAYER of that story. Of course we all know that the ADL SUCKS and objects to everything, that is good no mater what it might be. How sad to think they sit on there HEAD all the time and cant see the rest of the world. To Mr, Foxman, TAKE A LONG WALK ON A SHORT PLANK.

I love to read and I have come across negative references to Catholics in older literature written by some English writers. Instead of getting offended by such terms as popery and popish-or insinuations that Catholics are superstitious-I understand that such prejudice was an accepted part of many cultures in the past. I try to look past the prejudice to the overall message, story and writting style of the author.

Taking such terms out of books will only serve to hide how wide spread and accepted negative views of different religions and races were.

Also, William Shakespere makes refrences to the cruetly that Shylock suffers as a Jew many times in the play. I am uncertain how we are supposed to understand the famous speech in which Shylock states that he is no less a human then a Christian, if we do not know Shylock is a Jewish man. I always thought that Shylock was a complex, even sympathatic character.

I love to read and I have come across negative references to Catholics in older literature written by some English writers. Instead of getting offended by such terms as popery and popish-or insinuations that Catholics are superstitious-I understand that such prejudice was an accepted part of many cultures in the past. I try to look past the prejudice to the overall message, story and writting style of the author.

Taking such terms out of books will only serve to hide how wide spread and accepted negative views of different religions and races were.

Also, William Shakespere makes refrences to the cruetly that Shylock suffers as a Jew many times in the play. I am uncertain how we are supposed to understand the famous speech in which Shylock states that he is no less a human then a Christian, if we do not know Shylock is a Jewish man. I always thought that Shylock was a complex, even sympathatic character.

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About the Author

WILLIAM E. GIBSON
Gibson, the Sun-Sentinel’s Washington bureau chief for 25 years, has covered six presidential elections and... < More >
JOSH HAFENBRACK has covered city, county and state governments for newspapers since 2001. Prior to joining the Sun-Sentinel... < More >

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