(JTA) — A former medical resident at the Cleveland Clinic who wrote scores of anti-Semitic social media posts apologized, saying “those words do not represent who I am and the principles I stand for today.”
Lara Kollab, who attended medical school at a college associated with the Jewish community, said in the statement released on Friday and posted in a blogpost that “I wish sincerely and unequivocally to apologize for the offensive and hurtful language contained in those posts.” She said she visited Israel and the Palestinian territories every year as an adolecsent and “became incensed at the suffering of the Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.”
She said the anti-Semitic posts she wrote from 2011 to 2017 came because she had “difficulty constructively expressing my intense feelings about what I witnessed in my ancestral land.”
The posts resurfaced last week after being publicized by the controversial website Canary Mission, that hosts dossiers on pro-Palestinian student activists, professors and organizations, focusing primarily on North American universities. Among the posts that got the most attention was a tweet from 2012, when she was a medical student, which said: “hahha ewww.. ill purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds….”
Kollab had disabled all her social media accounts, but many of the posts and tweets were preserved in screenshot.
Kollab worked at the Cleveland Clinic as a first-year resident from July 2018 to September 2018. The Clinic initially said early last week in a statement that Kollab no longer worked for the medical center but declined to offer a reason.
It later revised the statement to note that Kollab was fired because of the social media post that threatened Jewish patients.
“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,” the statement said.
It added that: “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.”
Kollab said in her apology that “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.” She added that “I pray that the Jewish community will understand and forgive me.”
Kollab attended medical school at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York, which calls itself “the largest private university in the U.S. with Jewish roots.” In a tweet, the college said that it is “shocked that one of our graduates would voice statements that are antithetical to Touro and to the physicians’ Hippocratic Oath.”