Victoria councillor issues second apology for signing letter

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File photo of Susan Kim in a Victoria council meeting, wearing a keffiyeh, which is a scarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Victoria Councillor Susan Kim has issued a second apology on Instagram after signing a letter which included a line that cast doubt on the sexual violence committed by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Coun. Susan Kim is one of dozens who signed a letter calling for Canadian Members of Parliament to resign for being “complicit in Israel’s killing of over 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza.”

One section of the letter that has resulted in the calls for the resignation of the Victoria councillor, is one that casts doubt on the validity of the reports of sexual violence during the Oct. 7 attacks.

“Meanwhile Jagmeet Singh repeated the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence,” reads the letter.

Around midnight on Nov. 23, the Victoria councillor issued an apology on Instagram for signing the letter.

“I regret not being more careful in understanding the impact of the letter on the community members I represent,” the statement says.

“I signed this letter in a moment of immense grief and a felt urgency to call for an end to violence and support the people of Gaza. In the process, I failed to critically assess the impact this would have on community members directly affected – including Jewish and Palestinian community members – experiencing loss and grieving loved ones.”

Kim says the second apology is to hold herself accountable and she is thankful for Jewish and Palestinian community members who have taken time to talk to her since signing the letter.

“This is a time when so many of us are feeling raw and shaken as we advocate for peace and justice,” Kim said.

“I am going to continue to connect with all of those impacted by this conflict to better understand perspectives that are not my own. I am committed to this important work, even in such extremely difficult times, and will proceed gratefully my post working together towards better futures.”

The letter has since been deleted, and Kim says she has asked for her name to be removed from it.

Petitions launched since letter came to light

There have been two petitions launched since the letter that Kim signed came to light. The first calls for her to be censured, which has almost 10,000 signatures.

“In being an elected member of Victoria City Council, Ms. Kim has a responsibility to serve all members of her community to the best of her ability, including Jewish members,” the petition calling for Kim to be censured says. “In behaving the way she has she has brought our community into disrepute and has lost the trust and respect of many citizens in the City of Victoria.”

On Tuesday, a second petition was started in support of Kim speaking out in favour of Palestinians. It has just over 1,300 signatures.

“Thousands upon thousands of Canadians are marching week after week from coast to coast to coast calling for a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s genocidal attack on the people of Gaza,” the petition in support of Kim says.

“Across the country Jews have stood in these marches, in solidarity with Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims. Councillor Kim was representing us when she made a public statement in support of a ceasefire.”

Kim’s full statement

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Susan Kim 김수잔 (@susankimyyj)

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Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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