New York State Assemblyman calls state Regents questions antisemitic


Assemblyman Ari Brown considers two questions on a New York state Regents exam antisemitic, and wants an investigation.

“These are questions that deserve to be answered,” Brown stated in a news release. “And I am calling on Inspector General [Lucy] Lang to investigate them immediately to see that justice is served and we have answers.”

The questions are from the Global History and Geography Regents II exam, which asks students about the creation of the State of Israel. For the questions Brown focused on, students are presented with three images of maps, and asked about changes in Israel’s territorial borders in 1947, 1949 and 2017. The first question asks, “Which historical event most directly influenced the development of the 1947 plan shown on Map A?”

The correct answer, according to the test, is the Holocaust.

The second question asks, “Which group benefitted the most from the changes shown on these maps? According to the test, the correct answer is Zionists and Jewish immigrants.

“It’s an abhorrent reality that antisemitism still exists in any facet of society,” Brown said in the release.

“But to see it in publicly funded academia at so many levels, including in K-12 schools, is reprehensible,” he continued. “Not only are these Regents’ questions inaccurate, but they are highly offensive to the Jewish population as a whole who have shed blood throughout history for their very right to exist.”

Rabbi Steven Graber, of Temple Hillel in North Woodmere, said he was unaware of the test question, but after learning of it, he said he was left wondering about the background of people who are asking it.

“Are the people asking these questions history professionals?” Graber asked. “How do they interpret Black history? How do they interpret Hispanic American history? I wonder what they do with all the other cultures that they teach or don’t teach.”

On Feb. 2, nine members of New York’s congressional delegation sent a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Education Commissioner Betty Rosa, urging them to launch an investigation into the creation of the questions. U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, who represents the Five Towns, was part of the group that sent the letter.

“The inclusion of the antisemitic question in the New York State Regents Exam in Global History and Geography is unsettling, and demonstrates a startling lack of oversight by the New York State Education Department in reviewing their testing materials,” D’Esposito said in a statement to the Herald. “Sadly, proponents of anti-Semitism continue to use all tools at their disposal to advance their hate-filled ideology as is evidenced by the anti-Israel verbiage included in this winter’s statewide Global History and Geography test.”

In response to the letter, the State Education Department said that a diverse group of state social studies teachers prepare, select and review the exam questions to ensure that they meet the learning standards.

Hochul signed a Holocaust education bill last year that requires state schools to review their teaching methods and to teach students the true history of the Holocaust.

“Sadly, it was only last year that we passed a law requiring the state to study the efficacy of Holocaust teachings in our schools,” Brown said in the release. “Demonstrating that we have miles to go on tolerance and equality.”

Research conducted by the Anti-Defamation League last fall found that 21 percent of young adults — those between ages 18 to 30 — believe more anti-Israel statements than older adults. And according to the ADL, belief in antisemitic tropes — misrepresentations or fabrications that are defamatory toward Judaism — has risen nearly 25 percent since 2019.

Brown, who is also the deputy mayor of Cedarhurst, said at press time that he had not heard from Lang about a possible investigation into the origin of the Regents questions.

Have an opinion about disputed questions on the Global History Regents? Send a letter to