Lara Kollab might not have a future in medicine, but based on this apology, she might have one in politics. The former resident at The Cleveland Clinic issued an apology yesterday for years of anti-Semitic tweets, including at least one threat to misprescribe medications to the “yahood.” After Kollab’s story went viral last week, the clinic fired her, leaving her ability to practice medicine in serious doubt.
Yesterday, Kollab tried to clear the air with an apology … while blaming Israel for the problem. Here is her statement in full:
Several social media comments posted on my twitter account years ago have surfaced recently, causing pain, anguish, and a public outcry. I wish sincerely and unequivocally to apologize for the offensive and hurtful language contained in those posts. This statement is not intended to excuse the content of the posts, but rather to demonstrate that those words do not represent who I am and the principles I stand for today.
I visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories every summer throughout my adolescent years. I became incensed at the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation. The injustice and brutality of the occupation continues to concern me, and I believe every champion of human rights owes it to humanity to work towards a just and peaceful resolution of this crisis.
As a girl in my teens and early twenties, I had difficulty constructively expressing my intense feelings about what I witnessed in my ancestral land. Like many young people lacking life experience, I expressed myself by making insensitive remarks and statements of passion devoid of thought, not realizing the harm and offense these words would cause.
These posts were made years before I was accepted into medical school, when I was a naïve, and impressionable girl barely out of high school. I matured into a young adult during the years I attended college and medical school, and adopted strong values of inclusion, tolerance, and humanity. I take my profession and the Hippocratic Oath seriously and would never intentionally cause harm to any patient seeking medical care. As a physician, I will always strive to give the best medical treatment to all people, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or culture.
I have learned from this experience and am sorry for the pain I have caused. I pray that the Jewish community will understand and forgive me. I hope to make amends so that we can move forward and work together towards a better future for us all.
If these were tweets from Kollab’s middle-school years, that explanation might do — but they weren’t, and it doesn’t. Kollab was a first-year resident, which means she had completed her graduate and post-graduate college work. Kollab is 27 years old now (according to the Daily Mail’s reporting), and the tweets began in 2011 when she was 20. The 2012 tweet about misprescribing the “yahood” came when she was 21 years old. According to the site that first exposed Kollab, those anti-Semitic tweets continued into 2017 — not “years before I was accepted into medical school,” but just a year before she graduated from medical school. [Update: Let’s not forget that at that time she was attending a Jewish osteopathic college, too.]
Furthermore, while it’s certainly possible to criticize Israel’s policies in the West Bank, Kollab wasn’t writing political critiques on occupation policy on Twitter. She wasn’t going to practice medicine in Israel, and she wasn’t bragging about her future ability to misprescribe the Israelis running the West Bank. Her crude reference to the “yahood” was meant for all Jews, as were her tweets about praying that “Allah will kill the Jews.” Now she implores “the Jewish community” to “understand and forgive me,” while still trying to shift the blame for her hatred to Jews in Israel.
That’s not much of an apology in real life. It’s the kind of non-apology apology that one usually hears from politicians — trying to eat her cake while still having it too. She wants forgiveness and understanding but no responsibility and especially no consequences for her hate-venting. John Hinderaker hits the mark on this effort:
Is it just me, or do her venomous tweets sound a great deal more sincere than the apology that was released through her lawyers?
Kollab seems sincere in her embarrassment that she got exposed as the author of those tweets, and sincere in her desire to practice medicine without those hanging over her head. That’s about the extent of the sincerity that comes through that non-apology apology. Or perhaps a better term for it is a lying-SOB-Johnson apology from Forrest Gump: