Caitlyn Jenner To Receive 'Champion of Israel' Award, Sparking Anger From Activists

Some see the U.S. group's move as problematic, given accusations of Israel using its LGBTQ rights record to "pinkwash" its treatment of Palestinians.
Caitlyn Jenner has been named the recipient of the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award.
Caitlyn Jenner has been named the recipient of the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award.
Brian Snyder / Reuters

Caitlyn Jenner is set to receive an award for her support of Israel and its record on LGBTQ rights, a move that’s stirred the ire of some in the U.S. LGBTQ community.

The U.S.-based World Values Network will honor Jenner with the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award on March 8 in New York. The former Olympian and transgender icon will be presented the award by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.

“Israel is a bastion of global human rights and a great light to the nations,” Boteach said in a Jan. 24 press release. “But the Middle East is sadly a cesspit of human rights abuses, especially toward LGBTQ citizens who are routinely murdered, beheaded, and even hung from cranes.”

Jenner, he said, “is uniquely suited to highlight Israel’s incredible record on human rights and LGBTQ rights and protection to the LGBTQ citizens, which is utterly unique and unprecedented in the Middle East.”

A number of LGBTQ media outlets pointed out the conservative nature of the group and its event, at which former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will be an “honored guest.”

The World Values Network is funded by Sheldon Adelson, a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump who reportedly played a critical role in his controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. Boteach is also an established conservative, having once praised former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon as a “stalwart friend of the Jewish State.”

Jenner, meanwhile, has been an outspoken Republican for years.

Known globally as as an LGBTQ-friendly destination, Israel has in recent years been accused of “pinkwashing” ― using the queer community to deflect from larger issues like the nation’s ongoing conflict with the Palestine territories.

On social media, some people cast the news of Jenner’s award as an example of pinkwashing by U.S. supporters of Israel.

Last year’s Tel Aviv Gay Pride was marked by protests centered focused on the pinkwashing allegations, with some demonstrators holding signs that read “There’s no pride in occupation.”

A representative for Jenner told HuffPost that the former Olympian would not be making a statement about the award until the gala.

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