Nearly 7,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Victoria councillor Susan Kim to resign after her name was found in an open letter questioning reports of sexual violence committed by Hamas.
The letter names Kim as one of the dozens who signed it, and a second politician — MPP Sarah Jama from Ontario — also appears to have signed it.
The letter calls on members of parliament to resign for being “complicit in Israel’s killing of over 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza.” However, a sentence in the letter has gained controversy for questioning the validity of reports of sexual violence committed by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack.
“Meanwhile Jagmeet Singh repeated the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence,” reads the letter.
It’s unclear when the letter was written or who wrote it. According to Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine, the letter — written in a Google document — was first recorded on Oct. 26 and did not have Kim’s name attached at that time.
The next available recording of the letter was on Nov. 15, when the councillor’s name was found.
A Change.org petition began on Nov. 18, calling on Victoria city council to censure Kim and asking for her to resign. More than 6,800 people have signed it.
“We need to hold Ms. Kim to account for what she’s done,” said Janice Williams, who started the petition.
Williams — who ran for council in the last election — says she first heard of the letter on Nov. 16 and took to X, formerly known as Twitter, asking her for an explanation.
“I was hoping for a denial. I was hoping for something between Thursday and it hitting international news Saturday. Saturday I saw that it hit international news and I feel that Victoria needs to do something,” said Williams.
No other Victoria councillor has publicly addressed the allegations. CHEK News has sent out multiple requests to Kim for a comment but has not heard back.
On Nov. 19, her X account was deleted.
Neither NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh nor Mayor Marianne Alto have responded to CHEK News’ request for comment.
The University of Alberta recently fired its director of the Sexual Assault Centre for signing the letter. The school’s president says that using the centre’s name in endorsing the letter was “improper and unauthorized.”
“I can’t sit at the table with somebody who passively or even overtly condones the sexual violence against Jewish women,” said Colwood councillor Ian Ward.
Ward, who sits on the Greater Victoria Public Library board, is considering resigning in an act of protest. Councillor Kim also sits on that board.
“I’m someone with Jewish family, very close Jewish friends, I’ve seen what they’ve had to endure post-October 7th,” said Ward.
Ward says he would be hesitant to accept an apology from Kim if her name was added to the letter without her knowledge.
A second letter has been circulating online with more than 50 signatures from B.C. politicians including Kim, asking the federal government to call for a ceasefire.
A Nov. 1 letter written by MPs also called for a ceasefire.
Israel says it’s investigating several cases of sexual assault and rape during the Hamas attack last month. Police there say they have 60,000 videos seized and 1,000 testimonies. At the moment, Israel says there are no reported survivors.