New Zealand Lawmaker Apologizes For 'Shylock' Slur Against Prime Minister

Image: Getty Images

A New Zealand lawmaker apologized for a slur on Prime Minister John Key that critics branded as anti-Semitic.

A Labour Party lawmaker, Steven Gibson described John Key as “Shylock” on Facebook alongside a photo of the Conservative Party leader.

“There is the real face of Shonky Jonkey Shylock…nasty little creep with a nasty evil and vindictive sneer,” Gibson wrote.

Key, who is running for re-election in September, is the son of the late Ruth Lazar, a Jewish refugee for Europe who escaped on the eve of the war. He recognizes his Jewish heritage but sometimes attends church. He praised the local Jewish community.

“They’re a good hard-working group of New Zealanders and I don’t think people should be attacked on religious belief, whether they are Islamic, or Christian or if they’re Jewish,” he said.

Gibson apologized unreservedly Monday, saying the comment was “completely inappropriate” and that he didn’t fully understand the term “Shylock.” The post has since been deleted.

“I was only repeating what a constituent had said to me,” local media reported him saying. “And it’s only now that I realize the connotations of it. I’m sorry people have been offended and I’ll take the post down – that’s all I can do.”

Written by


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

New Zealand Lawmaker Apologizes For 'Shylock' Slur Against Prime Minister

Thank you!

This article has been sent!