Danielle Greyman was an undergraduate student in sociology at the University of Leeds. She researched and wrote a paper on how Hamas has made life difficult for Palestinians in Gaza. She was failed by two markers, both of whom despise Israel and deplored her criticism of Hamas. She tells her story below, but I have changed one word in her title.
The title that Danielle Greyman gave to the story of her graves-of-academe ordeal was “I Was Failed for Speaking the Truth About Israel.” I’ve changed it to “I Was Failed for Speaking the Truth About Hamas.”
Her senior dissertation was given a failing grade — 35 — by the main marker, teaching fellow Claudia Raviden, whose media posts are evidence of her hostility to Israel, and by a second marker, professor of Disability Studies (now retired) Simon Prideaux, who has revealed similar views. I will get to them later on.
Greyman’s report on her academic calvary can be found here: “I Was Failed for Speaking the Truth About Israel,” by Danielle Greyman, Algemeiner, September 22, 2022:
Over a year ago, I was submitting my final assignment of my three-year Sociology degree at the University of Leeds.
I had just finished my dissertation and received my offers for postgraduate study, and was feeling excited about the next step in my life. I was the first in my family to go to university, had never failed an assignment, and had a strong academic record. I received scholarships. I was a good student with full faith in academia and the integrity of academics.
The assignment I was writing was a 5,000-word case study on state crime and immorality. We were encouraged to take on a controversial topic, and I received approval on my topic from two members of the staff.
I decided to write about Hamas’ crimes against Palestinian civilians, with the aid of the UN. There was so much literature on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but a real lack of academic literature on the suffering of Palestinians from Hamas.
My module tutor discouraged me from addressing Israel in the essay, which made sense because the essay wasn’t about Israel. So I wrote about Hamas stealing humanitarian aid and redirecting it for military/personal use; Hamas’ use of human shields; and the disgraceful educational experience provided to Palestinian youth — which celebrates terrorism and encourages the murder of Jewish civilians.
I compared demographics and statistics between Gaza and the West Bank to prove the culpability of Hamas. Two groups with the same ethno-national-political identity, in the same region, with the same neighbors, have very different living standards and life experiences. Palestinians living in Gaza have a higher infant mortality rate, unemployment rate, and other adverse factors compared to Palestinians living in the West Bank.
Despite my assignment not being about Israel, the feedback I received from my grader was almost entirely attacking me for not blaming Israel.
I was given a failing grade of 35. I know students who have written their essays drunk, at 2 AM the night before it was due, and still received a 50. The grader and university were saying my essay had absolutely no academic merit whatsoever.
I was shocked, and decided to research the grader, Claudia Radiven. I had never spoken to her, never had a class with her, and never interacted with her. Yet, I found I was blocked by her on Twitter. This is enough for me to believe the anonymity of marking was breached. I quickly created a new Twitter to research her. I found tweets showing her support for Hamas, condemning Israel for actions that never happened, and just outright antisemitism.…
Dr. Hirsh wrote a long report detailing how inappropriate the feedback was. This report, alongside numerous screenshots from Claudia Radiven’s Twitter, was submitted to the appeals committee. I thought this would be a quick fix, given the clear evidence of bias. In fact, It took over a year for my appeal to go through, and the hearing committee spoke to me for less than 10 minutes. The committee concluded the marking was irregular and didn’t explain how the graders had arrived at the score they had given me, but they claimed to see no evidence of bias. It was agreed that the university would send my essay to be re-marked by an academic at another institution, where the assignment was given a passing grade.
To date, the University of Leeds has still not apologized or even acknowledged the discrimination that took place.
Claudia Radiven is now the head of the module that this assignment was for, despite her irregular marking. Court proceedings have been filed so that I can be compensated for my damages. I did not get to continue into postgraduate study. I didn’t attend my graduation ceremony. An achievement that should have been greatly celebrated by my family has been reduced to trauma….
I am just a canary in the coal mine. If rampant antisemitism at universities isn’t addressed, my case could sadly become the norm.
Now let us return to Claudia Radiven. Here is what she has posted online as her academic profile:
I joined the University of Leeds in 2009 to complete my undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies and MA by research in the School of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (AIMES). My PhD is split between the School of Sociology & Social Policy (SSP) and AIMES (due for completion 2021). In November 2020 I joined SSP as a Teaching Fellow where I teach primarily on topics such as crime and race. My current research focusses on the Prevent policy, colonial racial governance and Islamophobia.
My research interests include Critical Muslim Studies, decoloniality, counter-terror and de-radicalisation, Islamophobia, racism, and State Crimes.
• PhD Sociology and Social Policy
• Masters (by research) Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
• BA (Hons) Middle Eastern Studies
• BRAIS (British Association of Islamic Studies)
• EISA (European International Studies Association)
• CERS (Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies)
• Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam
That gives you a good idea of Ms. Radiven’s mental make-up, with her special interest in Islamophobia, Counter-Terror, and Critical Muslim Studies (which, as we know, means Uncritical Studies of Muslims). Incidentally, I wonder if anyone has let Radiven know that “decoloniality” is not a word. Yes, I know, there are so many preposterous neologisms being used these days – what’s one more offense against our poor little mistreated intellects?
Here are some examples of social media comments by the main marker, Claudia Radiven, and a second marker, Dr. Simon Prideaux, who has since retired as an associate professor of Disability Studies at Leeds:
Radiven’s twitter handle @claudiaradiven features Palestinian flags and hearts in Palestinian colors, and she regularly demonstrates her anti-Israel bias, for example:
• She retweeted “Brick by Brick Wall by Wall, Elbit’s factories are starting to fall” from PalestineAction on 11.1.22. PalestineAction is a group which vandalises factories in the UK owned by the Israeli group, Elbit.
• On 1.1.22 she tweeted: “Rampant destruction of Palestinian homes, murdering children by sniper, and open abuse of women …. the only democracy in the Middle East….apparently #SaveSheikhJarrah #FreePalestine #FreeGaza.”
The other marker, who unlike Raviden was not a specialist in the Middle East, was Associate Professor Dr. Simon Prideaux, who worked closely with Ms. Radiven when they co-edited Crimes of States and Powerful Elites. A professor of disability studies, he retired this past February.
Prideaux wrote “I couldn’t agree more” under a LinkedIn post by someone claiming “media outlets are controlled by Zionist sympathisers” and that the Gaza conflict “is not a conflict, this is apartheid. Say it out loud, Apartheid, Ethnic Cleansing, Colonisation. Oppressors cannot clam [sic] self defence!”
Here are some examples of the grading to which Ms. Greyman was subjected, commented on by UK Lawyers for Israel:
When Danielle was discussing Hamas’s use of human shields she wrote “While dense population may or may not deter military action from Israel, the use of human shields has been heavily critiqued as a betrayal of the Palestinian people by their government”. The marker wrote in relation to the first part of this statement: “It does not. As has been recently demonstrated” (the marking took place shortly after the IDF’s “Guardian of the Walls” operation responding to rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli towns). The marker added “This ignores the fact that the Israeli state commits the acts of violence regardless of this”. In making these comments the marker ignored ample evidence that the risk of civilian casualties does deter military action by Israel, even if it does not always prevent such action.
• Danielle wrote about Hamas storing and firing weapons against Israel from UN schools and hospitals in Gaza and its use of children as a human shields. The markers commented on this paragraph, “What about the war crime of killing them?” In making this comment, the markers took for granted that war crimes were committed by Israel by killing children. However, military action may cause the death of children without being a war crime.
• Danielle’s essay discussed how “…whether Israel chooses to respond/attack, Hamas gains some benefit; often at the expense of Palestinians.” The markers commented on this: “The fact is not ‘whether’ … the attacks happen and there is a huge disparity in social harm. Palestinians suffer and die during Israeli military action. And this is not being mentioned at any point”. However, Israel does not necessarily respond to attacks by Hamas, particularly if the risk of civilian casualties appears to outweigh the military advantage to be gained.
• The markers described the long-established Jerusalem Post as “a particularly biased media source,” and suggested that its factual reports should not be believed.
• Danielle gave eight examples of antisemitism being taught in UNWRA schools to children in Gaza. These included a teacher who venerates Hitler yet continues to teach their children; and teachers who glorify and celebrate knife attacks, kidnapping and ransoming and other attacks against Israelis. The markers wrote: “So seven teachers constitute a wave of antisemitism? This “evidence” is also weakened by the admission that the transmission and acceptance of these “heinous ideas” cannot be measured.”
Prideaux is now retired. But Claudia Raviden is still at Leeds University as a Teaching Fellow. Her colleague, friend, and protector in the department of sociology is now gone. Will her malevolent marking now become the subject of inquiry at the university itself? Or will her former teachers at the School of Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies rally round in her defense?
Thanks to that Samaritan organization UK Lawyers for Israel, Danielle Greyman’s case against Leeds University is about to begin. Fiat Justitia ruat caelum.