(JTA) – The Muslim Public Affairs Council is honoring two Jews with an annual award given to those who “champion the political empowerment of American Muslims.” The recipients of this year’s Empowering Voices award include Stosh Kotler, CEO of the liberal social action group Bend the Arc, and Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who helms the popular blog Lawfare, which covers national security law. In recognizing Kotler, the council noted among other factors the petition co-organized last year by the two groups against President Donald Trump’s “deeply troubling appointment of Stephen Bannon” as his top strategic adviser. Bannon had helmed the right-wing Breitbart News. He has since left his White House post. The council said in its statement that Wittes “uses his platform to publicly oppose scapegoating communities in the name of national security.” Wittes is a graduate of the Jewish day school system.
Over the years, the council has partnered with Jewish groups in a number of endeavors, recently in consulting with Jewish community experts on security for Muslim institutions. It also condemned a California imam who seemed to call for the annihilation of the Jews after recent tensions in Jerusalem. The council backs a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League criticized the group for co-hosting events with anti-Israel activists. An ADL spokesman said the information in that statement was no longer up to date.
CAP: Stosh Kotler and Benjamin Wittes