Caitlyn Jenner has used an honour for her commitment to the state of Israel to challenge Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender troops.
The transgender reality star was awarded the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award at the World Values Network’s (WVN) Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala.
The organisation, headed by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, aims to annually recognise individuals who “honour human rights and defend the protections and values of democracies like Israel.”
Jenner, formerly a prominent backer of the US President, shared the night with fellow winner Sean Spicer, who served as White House Press Secretary in 2017.
“I really feel like a true measure of a country’s character is how they treat their minorities,” Jenner told the event.
“For the entire Middle East and the rest of the world, Israel is a beacon of hope.
“In a region where entire religions are banned, women are persecuted, gay men are sentenced to death, Israel is a long-standing refuge for the LGBT people,” she continued.
“What I really like about the Jewish community is how they are so committed to family,” she added. “For me, I am very blessed to have a very large family.”
Jenner also praised Israel for not banning LGBT people in its military – citing Trump’s incoming ban on trans US troops.
“I stand with the estimated 15,000 transgender soldiers currently serving in the military and the estimated 130,000 more transgender people that are veterans,” she said to the audience, which included people near to the top of the Trump administration.
“We love our nation and we want to defend it.”
She continued: “First of all, we seem to attract a lot of enemies don’t we? Tyrants, religious fundamentalists, white nationalists, radical Islamic terrorists, we got them all.
“I wear that hatred as a badge of honour. They hate us because of what we stand for: freedom, opportunity, diversity and most of all we stand for love.”
Commending the TV star, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, known as ‘America’s Rabbi’, said: “Israel is a bastion of global human rights and a great light to the nations.
“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.
“Caitlyn Jenner, a great friend of the Jewish people and Israel, 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.”
Sean Spicer and Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White were also honoured at the New York gala.
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Jenner was forced to turn down an award for transgender activism late last year over anger at her support for President Trump, who has rolled back rights for LGBT people.
The award was from St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, a network of community healthcare centres in Los Angeles.
She was due to receive the honour for her support of their Transgender Health Program at their annual Eleganza ball, as part of St. John’s TransNation film festival.
However, the choice was heavily criticised by LGBT activists, given her controversial support for a string of anti-LGBT politicians, including Ted Cruz and Trump.