A former Cleveland Clinic resident has become the subject of international outrage after anti-Semitic posts she made on social media were uncovered. Lara Kollab, a 27-year-old recent medical school graduate, posted several offensive tweets on a personal Twitter account she used for many years. The tweets were discovered by the Canary Mission, a blacklist website that posts information on pro-Palestine students and professors.
“Lara Kollab has called for violence against Jews, spread anti-Semitism, trivialized the Holocaust, defended the terror organization Hamas and supported terrorists on Twitter,” the Canary Mission wrote. While the Canary Mission has generated controversy, the information it posted has been confirmed by Heavy and other media outlets. The tweets were posted while Kollab was in college and medical school.
Kollab was using the Twitter handle @ellekay_, an apparent reference to her initials. She had the name Lara on her profile and a Facebook page connected to her also used the name Elle Kay. Biographical details mentioned by Kollab on her anonymous Twitter account also match up with confirmed information about her, including the medical school she attended. Kollab also tweeted about a service trip to Honduras on the @ellekay_ account that Heavy confirmed Kollab took part in. Kollab also revealed her own identity on the Twitter account, tweeting at a friend in April 2012, “can you do me a favor and search ‘lara kollab’ and see if my profile comes up still :).”
Kollab has deleted her social media profiles, including the Twitter profile she used to make the anti-Semitic posts, and has not commented about the tweets and the international interest in her statements.
On January 4, Kollab issued an apology through a law firm.
“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,” Kollab said in a statement sent to Heavy on January 4 by
Ziad Tayeh, of the Cleveland-based Tayeh Law Offices. “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.”
You can read her full apology below:
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.
Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Lara Kollab:
1. Kollab’s Tweets, Which Were Posted Between 2011 & 2017, Include Statements Calling Jews ‘Dogs,’ Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany & Diminishing the Holocaust Because ‘the (People) Who Were in it Now Kill My (People)’
While Lara Kollab has deleted her Twitter account, many of her tweets were preserved by the Canary Mission. “She has also compared Israel to Nazi Germany, spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and hatred of Israel, and accused Israel of exploiting the Holocaust,” the Canary Mission said on its website. “Kollab is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and a supporter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). She is also is affiliated with Al Awda.”
In one tweet, Kollab, then a college student preparing to go to medical school, told a friend that she would purposefully give the wrong medication to Jewish patients when she became a doctor. She wrote in the January 2, 2012, tweet, “hahha ewww.. ill purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds…”
On December 8, 2012, Kollab tweeted, “After repeated failed diplomacy, our aim is to defeat the Zionist state through force,” in reply to a tweet stating tahat “peace won’t come by killing every Zionist. There has to be diplomacy.”
Kollab tweeted on August 27, 2013, “look, Haifa is sweet (nice), but it’s full of Jewish dogs, and it looks like America, meaning, it wasn’t that special to me.” Kollab also directed her antisemitism at people who lived in the city where she was attending school. She tweeted on April 23, 2013, “Annoying to go to school in a city full of Jews because everywhere I go I hear about the wonderful israel. About to tell this guy to stfu.”
She also tweeted about the Holocaust. On October 22, 2012, she wrote, “After this debate, I have to watch a movie on the holocaust and write a paper on it. I am going to be brutally unsympathetic. #sorrynotsorry.” On October 11, 2012, she tweeted, “If I have to write a paper about the holocaust, I’m going to bring palestine into it and my professor better like it.” When someone replied saying that the Holocaust never happened, Kollab responded, ” I think it did happen, it’s just exaggerated and the victimization of the jews (ignoring the others killed) is overdone.”
Kollab tweeted on October 9, 2012, “Of course the only prejudice my class focuses on is US racism against African Americans and the Holocaust. Poor Jews. They’re so oppressed.” On that same day, she also tweeted, “I don’t mean to sound insensitive but I have a REALLY hard time feeling bad about Holocaust seeing as the ppl who were in it now kill my ppl,” and “So hard for me to not roll my eyes when the prof was saying that for our midterm, we have to watch a movie about the Holocaust+write a paper.”
On October 20, 2013, Kollab tweeted, “tell me what makes Israel’s ‘we must remain a Jewish state’ obsession any less disturbing than Hitler’s obsession with a pure white nation.”
She also tweeted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including that Israel runs America and about the “zionist-owned media.” She tweeted on February 27, 2013, “How can we be angry at misguided ppl in the West? The media and schools are the most powerful tools- both are full of Zionist propaganda.”
2. The Cleveland Clinic Became Aware of Her Posts During the First Year of Her Residency & She Was Fired After an Investigation
Cleveland Clinic issued a statement on its website on December 31 saying that Lara Kollab no longer works there. “Cleveland Clinic was recently made aware of comments posted to social media by a former employee. This individual was employed as a supervised resident at our hospital from July to September 2018. She is no longer working at Cleveland Clinic. In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system,” the statement said.
The Canary Mission first posted its “profile” of Kollab featuring the anti-Semitic tweets in March 2018, according to its Twitter account. The Canary Mission tweeted out its information on Kollab again on December 27, and it was picked up by mainstream media outlets for the first time, while also going viral on social media, leading to the comment being issued by the Cleveland Clinic.
Cleveland Clinic issued a second statement on January 2 clarifying that Kollab was fired in September after the hospital learned of her social media posts.
“This individual was employed as a supervised, first-year resident at our hospital from July to September 2018. When we learned of the social media post, we took immediate action, conducted an internal review and placed her on administrative leave. Her departure was related to those posts and she has not worked at Cleveland Clinic since September. For first-year residents, multiple safeguards and direct supervision are required for patient care and prescribing medicine. In addition, there have been no reports of any patient harm related to her work during the time she was here,” Cleveland Clinic said in the statement. “In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system.”
3. Kollab Graduated From Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, a School With Jewish Roots, Which Says It’s ‘Shocked’ by Her Statements
Kollab graduated from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York in 2017, a school with Jewish roots. The campus she attended is located in Middletown, New York. The school’s first class graduated in 2011 after it opened with an emphasis on training minority doctors.
“When we welcomed our first class in 2007, we had a rare opportunity. We imagined creating a socially aware program that embraced the technological and medical standards of the new millennium,” Touro says on its website. “The Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine is committed to training osteopathic physicians, with a particular emphasis on practicing medicine in underserved communities, and to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine. We value and support public service, research, graduate medical education, and osteopathic clinical service in the community that will strive to improve health outcomes for those we serve. We will work to educate students through the use of the latest innovative education techniques using summative and formative measures so as to graduate qualified osteopathic physicians.”
Touro College was founded in New York City in 1971 and is the largest private Jewish university in the country.
After learning of the Twitter posts made by Kollab, Touro issued a statement on Twitter. “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,” the statement said.
Before working at Cleveland Clinic, Kollab spent time at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago while she was a fourth-year medical student at Touro in 2017.
4. She Is an Ohio Native & Attended John Carroll University for Her Undergraduate Studies
Lara Kollab, who said on social media that she is Muslim, is a native of Westlake, Ohio, according to public records. Kollab said on social media that she has worked as a tutor for high school and college students in her hometown, mentoring aspiring doctors.
She attended John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio, near Cleveland, according to her now-deleted Linkedin profile. She studied biology, neuroscience and psychology while at John Carroll with a goal of attending medical school after graduation, according to her social media posts. She finished her studies at John Carroll in 2013, according to her Facebook page. Some of the Twitter posts were made while Kollab was a student at John Carroll. The university, a private Jesuit school, has not commented about the controversy.
Kollab said on Linkedin that since 2015, she has been a mentor to “1st, 2nd, and 3rd year medical students.”
According to her now-deleted website, Kollab was a “internal medicine resident” and was based in Cleveland at the time of her firing. She wrote on the website, “at the heart of all Kollab does is a deep commitment to providing exceptional medical services to people in need of care.”
Kollab wrote, “her past service and leadership activities indicate her passion for helping those in underserved areas. She has provided medical services at a free clinic in a war-torn community at the Askar Refugee Camp, one of the largest refugee camps in the Middle East. She has also been part of a Global Brigades Medical Mission to Honduras.”
She wrote on the website, “When she’s not practicing medicine, Kollab’s personal interests include cooking Middle Eastern food, learning about different cultures, traveling, writing and photography.”
5. Kollab’s Training Certificate With the Ohio Medical Board Was Issued in July 2018 & Remains Active Until June 2021
Dr. Lara Kollab still has an active training certificate with the Ohio medical board, a search on the state’s medical license lookup shows. She was granted the training certificate on July 24, 2018, and it was effective as of July 1 of that same year. The certificate is set to expire on June 30, 2021. The license search website shows that the board has not take any action against her.
According to the website, “The Joint Commission and NCQA consider on-line status information as fulfilling the primary source verification requirement for verification of licensure in compliance with their respective credentialing standards.”
Tessie Pollock, the director of communications for the licensing board, told Fox News, “Her certificate is valid as long as the individual is actively part of the program which was indicated on the training certificate application by the supervising entity.” Pollock added, “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.”