Caitlyn Jenner Set to Receive ‘Champion of Israel’ Award From Trump-Supporting Jewish Group

Caitlyn Jenner Set to Receive ‘Champion of Israel’ Award From Trump-Supporting Jewish Group

Caitlyn Jenner is set to receive an award for her alleged support of Israel alongside former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Jenner will be appearing at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala in March, where she will be given the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award from the World Values Network.

In a press release, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach describes the former reality star and gold medalist as a “great friend of the Jewish people and Israel.” Boteach says Jenner “is uniquely suited to highlight Israel’s incredible record on human rights and LGBTQ rights,” although the statement does not elaborate on its reasoning for those claims.

Jenner, who came out as transgender in a 2015 interview with Diane Sawyer, will appear at the gala alongside Spicer, who resigned as press secretary in July 2017. He is also scheduled to be honored during the event.

During his brief stint as a spokesman for the Oval Office, Spicer routinely courted controversy for his handling of issues affecting the Jewish people. When President Trump omitted Jews from a statement recognizing International Holocaust Remembrance Day, he referred to the Commander-in-Chief’s critics as “pathetic.”

In one of his most notable gaffes, Spicer compared Adolf Hitler favorably to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying the Third Reich leader “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during wartime.

Of course, Hitler did use chemical weaponson the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

The transgender Republican has frequently been criticized for her proximity to the current administration. Jenner was an early backer of Trump’s campaign for the presidency, claiming during an episode of her since-cancelled reality show I Am Cait that he would be “would be very good for women’s issues” if elected.

After she was spotted driving around Los Angeles in a “Make America Great Again” hat in August 2017, Jenner claimed she had abandoned her support of the president.

But the six-year-old gala is backed by a Trump supporter: Sheldon G. Adelson. Adelson is a business magnate and influential donor to the Republican party. The casino billionaire is widely credited with the president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move universally condemned by international human rights groups.

Boteach has additionally lauded the president for the “incredible friendship he continues to show Israel.” He once called former Chief Advisor Steve Bannon a “great, stalwart friend of the Jewish State.”

Jenner’s appearance at the gala is unlikely to endear her to LGBTQ people who have taken issue with her conservative politics.

Israel is often criticized by the left for what detractors have referred to as “pinkwashing,” using its support for the queer and trans community to deflect from criticism of alleged human rights abuses in the ongoing Palestinian conflict. The country presents itself, critics say, as “progressive” on LGBTQ equality and its Arab neighbors as “backward” as a propaganda tool.

In his statement announcing Jenner’s award, Boteach calls the Middle East “a cesspit of human rights abuses, especially toward LGBTQ citizens who are routinely murdered, beheaded, and even hung from cranes.”

Jenner chose to “decline” an award scheduled to be presented to her at the October 2017 TransNation Film Festival following backlash.

Photo by Horacio Villalobos – Corbis/Getty Images


Nico Lang

Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.