Victoria mayor refuses to condemn councillor who signed letter denying Hamas rapes
Victoria mayor refuses to condemn councillor who signed letter denying Hamas rapes

Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto has refused to condemn a city councillor who signed an open letter that accused Israel of committing genocide and denied the reports of sexual violence against Israeli women by Hamas terrorists.

Coun. Susan Kim, who was elected in October 2022, has yet to publicly address her involvement in the open letter, which was signed by over 500 people, including academics, far-left activists and politicians. 

The letter has since been taken down from the internet, but an archived version shows Kim’s name among the signatories.

When confronted by reporters, Alto said on Tuesday that Kim should speak for herself, and that she did not have enough information to comment on the matter.

“I don’t have enough information to be able to answer that in an informed way. I think it would be actually quite irresponsible for me to comment on that without being more informed,” said Alto.

The letter sparked outrage among many Canadians, especially those in the Jewish community, who denounced it as anti-Semitic and hateful. 

A petition was launched to demand Kim’s censure by Victoria council, her removal from all official board appointments, and a ban on her wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh scarf in council. 

The petition had gathered over 8,500 signatures as of Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the University of Alberta has fired the director of its sexual assault centre and several other employees, after she and the centre signed the same open letter. 

The university said it was unacceptable for the centre to deny the experiences of survivors of sexual violence and that it was reviewing its policies and procedures.

The Alberta government expressed its concern over the letter saying that it expected the university to address the matter. 

Alberta Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney told True North she was appalled by the letter’s content, prior to the director’s dismissal.

Israel has said it is investigating several cases of sexual assault and rape during Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, which killed an estimated 1,200 people. 

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