By now, it has been widely reported across the world that Rep. Ilhan Omar accused Rep. Kevin McCarthy, and the Republican Party more generally, of only supporting Israel due to the "Benjamins" (i.e. $100 bills) conveyed to them by AIPAC and the Israel lobby. The episode has been discussed exhaustively in the above links; suffice to say that major Democrats have criticized Omar's statements as anti-Semitic, and Rep. Omar was forced to apologize—after a fashion (more below).
Amid the furor, Islamist groups across the country have attempted to defend Rep. Omar, portraying her as being victimized for daring to speak truth to power, et cetera. Thus far, the responses seem to be following two distinct strategies, each of which is disingenuous. The first strategy is epitomized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which released a video arguing that AIPAC's political power is no secret. According to MPAC, Rep. Omar was attacked for repeating what many others have said already, only because she is a "person of color" and a Muslim woman.
MPAC further echoed Omar's non-apology apology, in which she reframed her statements as an attack on the pernicious influence of lobbying, "whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry." (MPAC added in the tobacco and insurance industries for good measure.) Omar and her defenders are clearly trying to deflect attention from the specifics of what she said by placing it in the wider context of lobbying in general, a popular target of public scorn.
The problem is that criticisms of lobbying are premised on the claim that if it weren't for money, politicians would have no other reason to support the cause in question, because the cause itself is indefensible. (Hence the ritualistic invocation of the NRA and fossil fuels, both progressive bugbears.) The presumption that Israel is indefensible is what is at issue here, not Omar's slam of AIPAC per se.
This comes out more clearly in the second Islamist defensive strategy, this one used by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which stated: "Criticizing Israeli government policies—and the lobby groups which advocate for those policies on Capitol Hill, like AIPAC—is not anti-Semitic, just as criticizing Saudi government policies—and the lobby groups which advocate for those policies on Capitol Hill—is not Islamophobic."
Unfortunately, Rep. Omar has a long history of hyperbolic claims about Israel (and the West in general) that strain the borders of decency—and of flirting with anti-Semitic tropes in public, and then trying to duck behind claims of free speech. That is why few even in her own party are giving her the benefit of the doubt in the current episode, CAIR's whataboutism notwithstanding.
Speaking of which, CAIR's mention of Saudi Arabia was no accident. CAIR doubled down on that theme days later, quoting the Qatari propaganda outlet Middle East Eye to argue that Omar and her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib are victims of a Saudi/Israeli plot to delegitimize them.
CAIR neglects to mention why the Saudis would plot against fellow Muslims: because of their links with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Saudis have belatedly recognized that their prior support for the Brotherhood was a mistake, and that it threatens the Saudi monarchy as well as the West. Reps. Omar and Tlaib are heavily supported by Islamist groups such as CAIR, which are tightly linked to the Brotherhood. (No surprise that CAIR is now unremittingly hostile to the Saudis, and supportive of Brotherhood patron Qatar.)
CAIR and its fellow American Islamists are now fighting a crucial battle in their long-running war to weaken American support for Israel. If they can successfully argue that crude demonization and delegitimation are valid substitutes for actual policy discussion, they will have won a key beachhead—which will soon be exploited by the cadres of college students now being nurtured on open anti-Semitism thinly cloaked in anti-Zionism.
That is why Rep. Omar persists in crossing the line, despite her political savvy; she—and her Islamist backers—are trying to move the line entirely. And if they succeed, which line will she test next?