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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Lara Kollab and the Disease of Anti-Semitism

Canary Mission, a website that highlights hateful remarks by anti-Israel students and professors, recently exposed anti-Semitic statements by Lara Kollab, who was, until September, a first-year resident at Cleveland Clinic until the hospital fired her.

A woman in her 20s, Kollab reportedly has made references on social media to “Jewish dogs,” has written in Arabic, “Allah will take the Jews,” and tweeted, “ill (sic) purposely give all the yahood the wrong meds …”

Kollab perfectly represents the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Clearly, she was smart enough to have graduated from medical school, but she is woefully unwise on many levels — least of all for overlooking (or not caring) that anyone — Jew or Arab — could Google the word “yahood” and discover what it means. This young woman may give new meaning to the word “putz.”

As a Jew, I’m also offended by her fantastic hypocrisy, given that she graduated from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, whose schools around the country were founded on Jewish principles. Many of Kollab’s professors at the campus in upstate New York are Jews. Even Touro’s mission statement is “to educate, perpetuate and enrich the historic Jewish tradition of tolerance and dignity.” 

Tolerance and dignity. Yeah, sure. Exactly the two principles that Kollab stands for. 

In the unlikely event that she gains admittance to another internship program, I wonder how she would make amends and win the trust of Jewish patients. Personally, I visit physicians who never would try to poison me. Not knowingly, at least, although I’m sure some of them have entertained the thought after having met me. 

Kollab recently issued an apology for the “offensive and hurtful language contained in those posts,” adding that as an adolescent, she annually visited “Israel and the Palestine Territories” and “became incensed at the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.” 

What a short-sighted and half-hearted apology — one which I unequivocally reject. Her post never mentions the term “anti-Semitism,” nor does it even espouse one statement that would humanize Jews, given that she previously referred to Jews as “dogs.” In fact, her apology doesn’t include a single positive word about Jews. It does, however, put our mind to ease over Kollab’s moral clarity on Israel: “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 toward a just and peaceful resolution of this crisis,” Kollab writes.
When all other explanations fail, you can always count on an anti-Semite to extol that he or she is simply a concerned anti-Zionist.
Perhaps Kollab would also like to explain why her concern over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prompted her to downplay the Holocaust on social media. 

What will Kollab do now? If she’s interested, I can refer her to a few hospitals in lovely, spacious Tehran. She shouldn’t have too many Jewish patients there, given that only 5,000 of them remain in the country, compared with 100,000 Jews who lived there before the revolution just 40 years ago. 

But she must promise that she won’t work at Dr. Sapir Hospital and Charity Center in Tehran, which was founded by Jews and is completely unbiased regarding religion and ethnicity when treating its patients’ injuries and ailments. The hospital wouldn’t take her kind, although she could certainly learn a thing or two from its mission. In fact, she could have learned a thing or two from Touro’s mission.

As for me, I’ll occasionally check my physicians’ social media activity from now on, although most of my doctors are local Persian Jews, and the majority of controversies surrounding them are botched rhinoplasties.

And when my time does come, I’ll go as God intended, having succumbed to the world’s first recorded case of vitamin C overdose after using the internet to misdiagnose my routine sinus infection as the Black Plague. 

As Kollab now knows, the internet has a way of lending you a hand in destroying yourself.


Tabby Refael is a Los Angeles-based writer.

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