“I’ll purposely give all the yahood the wrong meds,” tweeted Lara Kollab in 2012. That thought would be despicable enough without any additional context, but as a number of US media outlets are reporting over the last 24 hours, Kollab wasn’t just another anti-Semitic social-media user. Kollab was studying to become a physician, and six years later was a resident on her way to an MD. Now she has been fired from the program, CBS News reports, but Kollab took a very strange path to her residency in the first place:
Lara Kollab worked as a first-year resident at the Cleveland Clinic from July to September 2018. She has since deleted all of her social media, but screenshots of her posts — dating back to 2011 — have been documented by the Canary Mission, a site dedicated to exposing anti-Semitism in an effort to combat its rise on college campuses.
According to the Canary Mission, Kollab’s posts called for violence against Jews, defended Hamas, trivialized the Holocaust and repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany. The group saved dozens of similar posts from 2011-2017.
In one now-deleted tweet from 2012, Kollab said, “ill purposely give all the yahood the wrong meds…” Yahood is an Arabic term for Jewish people. Other tweets made reference to “Jewish dogs” and said in Arabic, “Allah will take the Jews.”
If it seems a bit amazing that no one noticed a six-year string of anti-Semitic social-media posts from the erstwhile young physician, including threats to poison the “yahoods,” brace yourself for a peek at Kollab’s CV. NBC reports that Kollab graduated from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, part of the Touro College and University System, which pronounced itself “appalled” at Kollab’s long history of hate speech aimed at Jews. And well they should be, considering their mission:
What sets Touro apart is not simply our top-notch programs, engaged faculty members, or experiential learning opportunities, it’s our culture and curriculum that respect your commitments – to your community, your values, and your future.
Established in 1970 to focus on higher education for the Jewish community, we’ve grown to serve a widely diverse population of over 19,000 students across 30 schools in 4 countries. We are uniquely attuned to the importance of an education that accommodates students from all backgrounds and circumstances.
From liberal arts to law, health sciences to technology, business, Jewish studies, education—and everything in between—Touro provides educational opportunities and career paths to not only the most talented and motivated students but also those who have been overlooked and underserved, who have the drive and potential to succeed.
We have something for everyone. The only question is: To what do you aspire and what do you want to achieve?
The osteopathic medical college opened in 2007, just a few years before Kollab started establishing her anti-Semitism on social media. They take a laudable ecumenical view of education (as do Catholic colleges and those of most other higher-education institutions backed by faith communities). It’s not a surprise that they would accept Kollab as a student and be unmindful of her social-media presence, although they might start reviewing student postings more seriously in the future.
What is surprising is that Kollab went there in the first place. If she had that much hostility toward the “yahood,” why would she enter a Jewish medical college at all? Plenty of Muslims would be happy to study at Touro, but it seems a very odd choice for an Islamist such as the tweets paint Kollab. Was that the only place she could get accepted? If so, their graciousness and hospitality apparently didn’t make a dent in Kollab’s hatred. Or perhaps it did, eventually, but if so she didn’t seem too concerned about a Cleanup On Aisle Twitter. Without hearing from Kollab, it’s tough to square her social-media trail with the professional path she was treading.
At any rate, Kollab has pretty much answered Touro’s question as to her aspirations and goals, which lie in ruins at the moment. The Simon Wiesenthal Center wants to make sure they stay in ruins:
But even though Kollab is no longer a medical resident, the Simon Wiesenthal Center says there is more to be done to keep the public safe.
“While the Cleveland Clinic did the right thing, this person remains a menace to the community-at-large and has made a mockery of the Hippocratic Oath through her hatred. To protect the public, her Medical License should be revoked,” said a statement from Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Center’s Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action.
“We urge authorities to investigate if her threats could be prosecuted,” the statement said.
Prosecution seems very doubtful, as “hate speech” is not a crime in itself; under Brandenburg, there has to be a specific target and explicit incitement to make it a crime. It’s almost certainly enough to keep Kollab from qualifying for a medical license, however, as it seems doubtful that anyone will grant her a residency to complete her program [see update below]. NBC notes that Ohio’s medical board makes it clear that she won’t get any consideration in that state to practice medicine:
Kollab, who graduated from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, was issued a training certificate from the state in July 2018. The State Medical Board of Ohio said certificates are only valid if the individual is actively part of a training program.
“It is the mission of the State Medical Board of Ohio to protect the health and safety of all Ohioans. Malicious acts and attitudes toward any population go against the Medical Practices Act and are denounced by the board,” the board said in a statement.
So what’s the moral of this story, apart from avoiding Dr. Kollab at all costs? For one, the “permanent record” that our parents used to frighten us into acceptable behavior used to be a myth, but not so in the era of social media. Young people will have to answer for their stupidity for the rest of their lives in a way that was inconceivable in our teens and twenties.
More basically, though, is this: Don’t be anti-Semitic. Or a hater or bigot of any kind. If one takes that moral to heart, then life will be much brighter, including social-media trails.
Update: Our friend Dr. Pradheep Shanker corrects me on this point. Kollab can’t practice because she didn’t complete her residency (having been fired), but if she had, the DO would have been sufficient for a medical practice. As she no longer has a training certificate, she can’t proceed to a practice, but that’s not because of her DO. My apologies for the confusion, and I have rewritten the paragraph a bit to remove the erroneous information.