First term Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) ignited a storm of controversy with a Tweet on Sunday 10 February 2019 that cast AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) as a Jewish lobby whose money buys a pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy. In response to a Glenn Greenwald tweet invoking the familiar “dual loyalty” trope about U.S. support for Israel, Omar’s sly double entendre, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” roused even Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party leadership to demand an apology from Omar…which she provided, sort of.
Declaring that “Anti-Semitism is real” and “I unequivocally apologize,” Omar then took it all back with her very next statement: “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.” Then hours later, Omar was back on Twitter again, re-tweeting a thread with a former staffer on a failed congressional campaign who claimed his candidate accepted AIPAC money in return for issuing pro-Israel statements. Worse yet, the re-tweeted thread included explicit criticism of Pelosi for demanding Omar’s apology.