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Graduate sues UK university after failing essay for not criticizing Israel

Leeds University confirms Danielle Greyman’s original essay should have passed; ‘If retroactively I’d known what I know now, I wouldn’t have studied sociology,’ she says

Screen capture from video of the University of Leeds. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video of the University of Leeds. (YouTube)

A Jewish graduate of Leeds University in the United Kingdom is suing her alma mater after it gave her a failing grade for a paper she wrote about the Hamas terror group in which she did not criticize Israel, the Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday.

After subsequently rewriting the paper, 23-year-old Danielle Greyman passed, but noted that she was unable to begin her master’s degree when she had planned because the appeal process took almost a year. As part of the review, an outside grader suggested her original essay be passed, which Leeds University accepted.

As a result, her lawyers have sued the university for negligence, discrimination and victimization.

Greyman’s paper criticized Hamas’s use of civilians as “human shields” and highlighted examples of antisemitic content being taught in schools funded by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. While she wrote that human shields constituted “a betrayal of the Palestinian people by their government,” a grader commented that her analysis “ignores the fact that the Israeli state commits acts of violence.”

One of the original graders of Greyman’s essay was Claudia Radiven, who had previously signed an educators’ and researchers’ petition supporting former Bristol University Professor David Miller, who was fired in 2021 after making negative comments about Israel in a sociology lecture.

He called Jewish students that protested against him “pawns,” and characterized Israel as a “violent, racist, foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.”

Alongside Radiven, the petition supporting Miller and his scholarship was signed by anti-Zionist Jewish academics Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler, among others.

UK Lawyers for Israel Director Jonathan Turner commented on the matter, saying that Jewish students are more likely to write pro-Israel essays, whereas Arab and Muslim students are more likely to “write an essay that is critical of Israel.”

“If students are penalized for defending Israel then that may constitute indirect discrimination,” he said.

Turner noted that students often receive lower grades on pro-Israel assignments and that an unnamed Jewish student, also at a British university, is considering taking legal action for similar treatment as a student.

University of Bristol sociologist David Miller in a video uploaded on February 15, 2020. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Greyman herself said she was distraught.

“I’ve studied sociology since GCSE. It was very much my passion, I wanted to become a sociologist,” she said. “I don’t think returning to sociology is an option… If retroactively I’d known what I know now, I wouldn’t have studied sociology.

“It was a field created by Jews, and now the hostility towards Jews and Jewish students is insane. It’s really crazy,” she added.

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