by Ari Lieberman
What drove a well-educated young doctor from an affluent family to become a vile anti-Semite?
In medical terms, Lara Kollab’s career is dead on arrival or flat-lined. The prestigious Cleveland Clinic, where she was employed as a supervised resident, rightly fired her after only two months. Ohio’s Osteopathic Association informed me via Twitter that her medical training certificate is invalid because it was contingent upon her working in an accredited program. Because she was fired from the Cleveland Clinic, she is no longer in an accredited program. Moreover, because of the way medical residencies are scheduled, the earliest time that she can re-apply into another residency program is July 2020. Even then, it is doubtful that any hospital will accept her, except for perhaps Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, which also conveniently serves as a Hamas Headquarters in times of war with Israel.
For those of you who were in hibernation this past week, Kollab, whose parents are Palestinian and Muslim, posted numerous anti-Semitic comments on her social media platforms. She routinely referred to Jews as “dogs,” trivialized the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, claimed that “Zionists” controlled the media and “Israel runs America,” and repeatedly expressed a desire to inflict harm on Jews. But the one comment that put the nail in the coffin for Kollab was the tweet where she expressed her desire to provide her Jewish patients with the wrong medication, effectively poisoning them. Not exactly the sort of sentiment that’s consistent with the Hippocratic Oath and precisely the sort of sentiment you’d expect from the likes of Doctor Mengele.
On Friday, Kollab issued an apology of sorts through her lawyer. This represents the first step in Kollab’s attempt to salvage what’s left her tattered career and reputation. But the apology was equivocal and laced with deception and deflection. She claimed that the offensive, anti-Semitic posts were made years before she was accepted into medical school. That is false. The vile comments, which included deep-seated hatred of Israel and support for terrorism continued up until 2017 and constituted one steady and continuous stream of anti-Semitic invective. Her views remained constant and unchanged even after her acceptance to Touro.
One of the mysteries of the Kollab case is why she would choose Touro of all places. Touro accepts all students from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities but when it was established in 1970, its focus was on higher education for the Jewish community. Over the years, the college became recognized for its high educational standards and consequently attracted a broader and more diverse student body.
Nonetheless, the inescapable fact is that Touro College is deeply rooted in Jewish values and philosophy, and one has to wonder why Kollab, whose hatred for Jews and Israel is palpable, would choose such an institution to advance her career. The answer likely lies in expediency. Touro has a renowned DO program and accepted her application. Expediency and convenience temporarily triumphed over her hatred for Jews.
According to public sources, Kollab’s family resides in an upscale Cleveland suburb. Photos of her parents’ home are readily available on the internet. They live in an affluent or upper middle class neighborhood; have a large 3,752sq.ft. house, surrounded by other large houses with well-manicured lawns and wide streets. Two relatively new vehicles can be seen parked in front of the family home in a large semi-circular driveway. The online real estate site Zillow places the value of the property at $607,000.
Despite her upper middleclass background and high-level education, Kollab still had time to immerse herself in Jew-hatred. But Kollab’s anti-Israel views did not emerge from a vacuum and may have been passed down to her by her parents, like a bad gene mutation. It’s not a stretch to assume that her Palestinian relatives share her views but were not stupid enough to express these rancid opinions on the information superhighway.
Recent polls suggest that anti-Semitic views in the Muslim world are the norm rather than the exception. A PEW research study confirmed that there is a near 100 percent prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes among Muslim migrants. But Lara Kollab was born in America and was exposed to American culture from birth, yet still harbored anti-Semitic views. What explanation can be offered for her vile Judeophobic attitudes?
I was able to locate a telling 2013 research paper written by Lara Kollab in which she interviews two people, her father and 17-year-old cousin, in connection with “Palestine” and the “Occupation.” The defamatory paper can best be summed up as mendacious to its core and implicitly anti-Semitic. A step-by-step deconstruction of its calumnies would be lengthy and beyond the scope of this article but I’ll provide two examples.
Her father states that in 1971, when he was barely thirteen, he went to visit his grandparents’ home in Jaffa when to his horror discovered the premises to be occupied by “European Jewish immigrants.” Which one of Mr. Kollab’s five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell or sound – was used to determine that they were “European” or “immigrants?” Perhaps it was his sixth sense. Moreover, Mr. Kollab’s pejorative invocation of “European” unmistakably implies that those living in his grandparents’ home are foreign alien implants, a common anti-Semitic trope perpetuated in the Muslim world.
Lara Kollab’s 17-year-old cousin is no better. She absurdly equates Palestinian suicide bombers – those who deliberately explode themselves among civilians in restaurants, cafes and buses – to Israel’s legally acceptable use of White Phosphorous to conceal troop deployments. Israel utilizes the smoke produced by White Phosphorous as an obscurant to protect its soldiers who face immoral enemies that have no regard for civilian life – Arab or Israeli.
Lara Kollab’s indoctrination and exposure to hate does not mean that her conduct should be excused. She’s an adult and should be held accountable for her actions. But it does offer a glimpse of insight into the anti-Semitic mindset, how it’s formed, and from where it emerges.
Most of the Arab and Muslim world (with some notable exceptions) is steeped in hatred for Israel and Jews. Jordan, a nation supposedly at peace with Israel, maintains office buildings where one must step on the Israeli flag when entering or exiting the lobby, and there are plans in the works to expand this insidious practice. An eight-year-old Lebanese boy recently refused to play a chess match against his Israeli competitors because of his belief that “Israel is the enemy.” Upon hearing this, his adult TV interviewers replied “bravo.” Palestinian kids are routinely exposed to Sesame Street-like children shows, complete with Disney-like characters, where Jews are referred to in the vilest pejorative terms and martyrdom is extolled.
Successive generations of Muslim youth who are being spiritually and mentally poisoned through political and religious indoctrination and society at large – irrespective of religion – pays the price. The Lara Kollab saga represents another unfortunate example of this systemic problem. She had the potential to be a productive member of society and threw it all away because the seeds of her irrational hatred were implanted from birth.
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.
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