Two American women who were held hostage by Hamas are pushing back on claims made by far-left activist Shaun King, who claimed that he knew them and that he helped negotiate their release.
Judith and Natalie Raanan, residents of Evanston, Illinois, located outside of Chicago, were released by terrorists on Friday. They were in Israel to “celebrate a relative’s 85th birthday and the Jewish holiday season,” according to the Times of Israel.
The Jerusalem Post laid out the timeline of King’s claims about his alleged relationship with those who were released.
Two weeks ago, King claimed that Natalie’s family contacted him and asked him to help “find [Natalie Raanan] and bring her to safety.”
“Natalie and her family are supporters of mine, protested against police brutality in the United States with me, and have spoken out against injustice in Israel,” he wrote. “I believe we have confirmed that she was NOT killed in Israel, but we are just asking for proof of life right now.”
He claimed that he had the ability to “confidentially help broker her return.”
Then, after the two were released, he doubled down on his claims that he knew them and suggested that he helped get them released.
“As I said last week, Natalie and her family have been supporters of mine and protested police violence in America alongside us,” he said. “I am also thankful for the Qatari government for helping to negotiate this. Dozens of us worked frantically behind the scenes to help make this possible. I spoke to Natalie’s family this afternoon and they are anxiously awaiting more updates.”
According to a translation of a local Israeli news article, the family appears to have no idea who Shaun King is.
Journalist Yashar Ali posted a translated version of the statement that the family made responding to King’s claims.
“Today we came across bizarre posts on the Instagram page of one Shaun King, who turns out to have millions of followers, who claims that our relative Natalie Raanan supports the anti-Israeli messages he uploads to his page,” the statement began. “First and foremost, we make it clear that he is lying! Our family does not and did not have anything to do with him, neither directly nor indirectly. Not to him and not to anything he claims to represent.”
“Natalie told us that this morning it was the first time in her life that she came across Shaun King’s name and his posts, after she finally got a phone call after two horrific weeks in captivity in Gaza, and was looking for what was written about her while she was away,” the family continued. “Shaun King is trying to catch a ride on the great exposure that her kidnapping received all over the world and in the U.S. in particular, and the most ridiculous thing is that Natalie and her mother Judith are very active in Rabbi Hecht’s Jewish community in Chicago and in the Chabad house, and if Shaun King knew them or their family he would know that.”
The family encouraged people to thoroughly check things that they see online before sharing them with other people because many things are false.
“The damage that the sharing of these lies does is so huge, and the effort of our family and all the families of the abductees should be focused on bringing them home, and not fighting the lies that are being spread like wildfire,” the statement continued. “We’re not done, we’ve just started. We have 2 more murdered in the family and 8 more family members still kidnapped, and there are over 200 more families in our situation. Now we need the support of all the people of Israel and all the countries of the world to bring everyone home as soon as possible!”
Here is the full, translated statement from the Raanan family in response to Shaun King’s bizarre claim that he played a part in getting Judith and Natalie Raanan released by Hamas:
"Today we came across bizarre posts on the Instagram page of one Shaun King, who turns out to…
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 21, 2023