New Statesman ‘sorry’ for error of judgement of Begum lawyer interview
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New Statesman ‘sorry’ for error of judgement of Begum lawyer interview

In an interview with the weekly magazine, Tasnime Akunjee appeared to draw parallels between Isis and Israel

Shamima Begum’s lawyer
Shamima Begum’s lawyer

The editor-in-chief of the New Statesman has apologised following controversy over his interview with Shamima Begum’s lawyer, in which Tasnime Akunjee appeared to draw parallels between Isis and Israel.

In an interview with the weekly magazine’s editor-in-chief Jason Cowley, Akunjee reportedly said: “Isis copied their model directly from Israel. You have Israel calling on Jews from around the world.

“They have an automatic right to be a citizen of Israel. That’s exactly the same as Isis, in the sense that if you’re Muslim and you come over here, you’ll be looked after.”

Following criticism, the headline, which previously quoted Akunjee’s comments, was amended and Cowley also issued a public apology.

Cowley wrote on social media: “The headline on the interview with Shamima Begum’s solicitor in the Observations section of this week’s magazine has been changed.

“We apologise for any offence it caused and for what was an error of editorial judgement.”

Akunjee’s remarks received wide criticism, with a Board of Deputies spokesperson saying: “Comparing Israel to the murderous death cult of Daesh is not only false but offensive to Jews and to Israelis.

“The attempt to do so is both disingenuous and cynical.”

However, Akunjee also said in a statement to Jewish News: “The article in the New Statesman truncated statements made during an academic discussion of the attempt by ISIS to build a caliphate.

“To clarify I did not compare Israel to ISIS, I merely pointed out that ISIS had attempted to copy aspects of Israel’s expansionist policy.

“I did not intend for any offence to arise from the discussion.”

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