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Anti-Israel Propaganda In NY State Exam

Do you consider this cartoon offensive?

Let’s see.

Fat, aggressive Israeli soldiers? Check

Star of David on back of one of them to remind people of his religion? Check

Insinuation Israelis are not serious about peace? Check

What if I told you this was an actual question in the NY global-studies Regents exam?

A political cartoon riffing on the Mideast conflict appeared last week on a global-studies Regents exam — sparking cries of ­“anti-Israel propaganda” from some lawmakers, teachers and students.

The cartoon depicts three fat, armed Israeli soldiers using an overturned table as a shield, with one saying, “I knew this peace table would come in handy someday.”

It was used in the test administered on Jan. 24, and asked students, “What is the main idea of this cartoon?”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind says the cartoon’s inclusion by the Board of Regents is a jab at Israel, because it portrays the soldiers — one with a Star of David on his back — as aggressive and oafish.

“I consider this anti-Israel propaganda. It is so demeaning,” the Brooklyn pol told The Post.

“There’s nothing to learn from this. It’s only to undermine Israel, and I can tell you that the people who came to me — a teacher who saw this and was so furious, so upset that this was on the Regents. Why would you use this? What is the purpose of this? It makes me very angry that people responsible made this decision.”

Some students pushed back on test day, including a Forest Hills HS 10th-grader who told a teacher he felt targeted, according to a classmate.

“The entire class said it was offensive, but the teachers told us it was a random question [the exam creators] found online and put it in the test,” said the student who declined to give his name. “A Jewish kid then told the teacher he felt insulted. He said he felt like they were putting the blame on his religion.”

This was the NY State Education Department’s response.

State Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman defended the question, saying it “measures the students’ ability to analyze a political cartoon, understand the cartoonist’s point of view and apply that information to the questions being asked.”

“Political cartoons contained on Regents exams are sometimes very pointed, but they are never intended to represent the point of view of the Board of Regents or the Education Department on a given issue,” Burman said.

Incidentally, Jonathan Burman himself is Jewish, and his Facebook page is filled with photos of his son’s recent Bar Mitzvah. In Israel.

3 thoughts on “Anti-Israel Propaganda In NY State Exam”

  1. The only way to solve a problem like this is simply not to use any contemporary cartoon about any current issue. It would also help students become familiar with history and art to use one of the clear, clever, and beautifully drawn pieces from a century or so ago – Nast, Grandville, any of dozens of brilliant illustrators and cartoonists from the golden age of newspapers. With pointed symbols, one need not even be familiar with the details of the controversy to understand immediately what a cartoon is saying.

  2. ahad_ha_amoratsim

    Correct answer:
    (4) like most cartoonists, this one knows squat about the situation but substitutes his fashionable and self righteous prejudices for actual knowledge.

  3. Interestingly, that Jewish star appears to be the only indicator of who is supposedly depicted. If they had edited that out, with the artist’s permission say, the cartoon could refer to anyone and would not be a (particular) problem.
    That star, however, makes the slanderous intentions clear. The cartoonist must be a real piece of work.

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