Embattled City of Victoria Coun. Susan Kim has issued a revised apology, but is not resigning after her name appeared on a controversial open letter that questioned if there was sexual violence committed by Hamas as part of the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel.
Kim’s name appeared on the letter, which included the line the “unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence” as part of the Oct. 7 attacks that saw some victims tortured before they were killed. That letter has since been heavily edited to remove the statement and the names of those who signed it.
The letter sparked a firestorm of criticism, including from B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs Anne Kang and Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Grace Lore, plus a petition asking Kim to resign that has 10,000 signatures.
Kim initially issued a statement in response to the controversy, but that statement was heavily criticized by some who felt it didn’t go far enough and wasn’t an actual apology.
Kim posted a new statement on Instagram in which she admits she was wrong for signing the letter, adding that she now wants her name removed from the letter.
“I am writing again to apologize for signing the open letter that has been the subject of much-warranted scrutiny over the past days,” Kim wrote. “I have asked for my name to be removed from the letter. I regret not being more careful in understanding the impact of the letter on the community members I represent.
“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. This apology is part of a process of holding myself accountable, to representing the city with more awareness and consideration.”
Kim has received heavy criticism from Victoria residents, as well as B.C. politicians, including Colwood Coun. Ian Ward, who has demanded Kim be censured by Victoria council and that she be removed from her committees.
On Monday, Kang called on Kim to “apologize immediately” but stopped short of asking her to resign.
“I believe in survivors,” Kang said. “I believe in their first-hand accounts and it is absolutely wrong to deny that these accounts happened.”