Argentina's Jewish community is outraged over President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's comparison of the country's debt crisis to William Shakespeare's infamous character Shylock, Haaretz reported Wednesday.
Kirchner made the remarks on Twitter last week, while recounting her meeting with 10-year-old schoolchildren in Buenos Aires’s Villa Lugano neighborhood.
To understand the nation's economic problems, Kirchner asserted, the children should read Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice," in which the Jewish Shylock is portrayed as a money lender seeking revenge.
Tweeting after the meeting, Kirchner wrote that she had asked students which work by the famous playwright they were currently reading.
When the students responded “Romeo and Juliet,” Kirchner recounted, “I said, you have to read The Merchant of Venice to understand the vulture funds."
“No, don’t laugh. Usury and bloodsuckers have been immortalized in the greatest literature for centuries,” she added in another tweet.
The remark has particularly anti-Semitic undertones as some in Argentina actually believe Jews control the vulture funds that are demanding full repayment from the country.
Heavily condemned in Argentine press and by the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations, Kirchner refused to retract her comments, choosing instead to mock the criticism she has received from Jewish groups.
"Some people are deserving of a donkey's head," she wrote, referencing yet another of the Bard's plays, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."