Last week, a hospital in Southern California withdrew a job offer from Lara Kollab, an osteopath in the internal medicine residency program, over the discovery that she used anti-Semitic language on Twitter.
The tweets, dating back to 2012, include some that evoke Kollab’s medical training: she wrote that she would “purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds” and that “people who support Israel should have their immune cells killed.” Kollab has deleted the tweets, but Canary Mission, the shadowy website that collects information on pro-Palestinian student activists, professors and organizations primarily in North American universities, had recorded the tweets before she did so.
Here are some things to know about Lara Kollab, the doctor at the center of this controversy:
Kollab graduated from a medical school with Jewish origins
Kollab graduated from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, a school that famously has Jewish roots. Founded in 1971, the Touro College university system calls itself to be the “largest private university in the U.S. with Jewish roots” - and it’s an officially Orthodox institution. Earlier in the year, Tour College released a tweet condemning the actions of their alumnus:
Touro College is appalled by the anti-Semitic comments reportedly made by Lara Kollab, a graduate of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. The mission of Touro College is to educate, perpetuate and enrich the historic Jewish tradition of tolerance and dignity.— Touro College (@WeAreTouro) December 31, 2018
This isn’t her first time getting fired over anti-Semitic statements
An official statement released last year by the Cleveland Clinic explained Kollab’s status at the institution, in light of her tweets. “The individual was employed as a supervised resident at our hospital from July to September 2018,” the medical center confirmed. “She is no longer working at Cleveland Clinic. In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system.”
She made skeptical statements regarding the Holocaust
In a Twitter exchange with another user on October 9, 2012, she wrote that although she believes the Holocaust occurred, “It’s exaggerated and the victimization of the Jews (ignoring the others killed) is overdone.”
Kollab wrote an apology in response to the discovery of her tweets
In a post on her personal blog earlier this year, she apologized for her actions. “Several social media comments posted on my twitter account years ago have surfaced recently, causing pain, anguish and a public outcry,” she writes. “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.” She was still tweeting as of two years ago.
Although her apology implies that she made anti-Semitic comments exclusively during her undergraduate days, her tweets date as recently as two years ago
On January 1, 2017, she tweeted that “Zionists will basically use every opportunity to use the words ‘Israeli’, ‘victim’, and ‘terrorist attack’ in the same sentence.” On August 16, 2017, she wrote that “Israel is more about hatred and white supremacy than it is about world Jewry.”
Adrianna Chaviva Freedman is the Social Media Intern for the Forward. You can reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @ac_freedman