England’s massive Glastonbury Festival will no longer show a documentary claiming that former British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was wrongfully accused of antisemitism, bowing to pressure from Jewish groups that labeled it a vessel for conspiracy theories.
“Jeremy Corbyn’s diehard supporters are determined to peddle the false myth that the only reason he is not the Prime Minister is that a conspiracy orchestrated by the Israeli Embassy supposedly invented a load of stories about antisemitism in the Labour Party,” the Jewish Community Security Trust group said in a statement about the film, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn, The Big Lie.”
The group added, “It is this claim that is a big lie, and it denies and insults the very real harassment and abuse suffered by many Jewish Labour Party members during that period, while itself reinforcing antisemitic stereotypes.”
The Glastonbury Festival, founded in 1970, is one of the largest music and arts gatherings in the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of people each year to a small town in Somerset. Corbyn gave a speech at the festival to roaring applause in 2017; Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and the Arctic Monkeys are among this year’s headliners.
Documentary part of the festival's film lineup
The Corbyn documentary was part of the festival’s film lineup, which includes blockbusters such as “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.”
Corbyn, Labour leader from 2015 to 2020, was plagued by allegations for years that he allowed antisemitism among Labour members, leading several prominent Jewish politicians to leave the party. After the 2019 general election, in which Labour was left with its fewest parliamentary seats in decades, Corbyn was replaced by Keir Starmer, who has prioritized regaining the trust of Jewish voters.
The documentary argues that Corbyn, who was briefly suspended from the party after claiming the scope of the antisemitism problem was overstated, was the target of “political deceit” and “outrageous antisemitic smears.” It features, as the Board of Deputies of British Jews noted in a statement, several figures who were suspended or expelled from Labour over their comments during the Corbyn years, including activist Jackie Walker and filmmaker Ken Loach.
We are pleased that in the wake of a letter we sent earlier today, @glastonbury have announced the cancellation of the screening of this film. Hateful conspiracy theories should have no place in our society. https://t.co/YkjB8cAy3Q pic.twitter.com/LnZ0HMFnsy— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) June 19, 2023
“Although we believe that the Pilton Palais [cinema tent] booked this film in good faith, in the hope of provoking political debate, it’s become clear that it is not appropriate for us to screen it at the Festival,” Glastonbury organizers wrote in a statement on Monday. “Glastonbury is about unity and not division, and we stand against all forms of discrimination.”