Merchant of Venice - Gerard Alon - May 15, 2012
Yaakov Cohen, right, in Habima's 'Merchant of Venice.' Photo by Gerard Alon
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Tribune Media Services apologized for using Shylock as a clue in a nationally syndicated crossword puzzle for the answer “Jew” after the Anti-Defamation League said it was insensitive.

The media syndicate said in its apology that appeared in newspapers on Sunday that the puzzle “should not have been distributed with that clue.”

Tribune Media added that it “is very sensitive to racial or cultural references in the content we distribute and regret that this slipped through.”

The ADL had called on the syndicate’s editors to apologize for using the clue after it appeared on Friday in newspapers across the United States.

Shylock refers to the Jewish moneylender in the play “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare.

“Perhaps the puzzle authors were unaware of the use of Shakespeare’s Shylock character throughout the years as a vehicle for anti-Semitism,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman wrote in a letter to Tribune Media Services. “Selecting Shylock to elicit the answer ‘Jew’ demonstrates cultural ignorance and an extreme lack of sensitivity.

“Even if done inadvertently, such a linkage perpetuates classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews as evil and money-hungry.”