Activist Shaun King Spars With Family Of US Hostages Over His Role In Release By Hamas
Judith and Natalie Raanan were the first hostages released by Hamas.
The family of two American hostages released by Hamas terrorists has accused Black Lives Matter activist and author Shaun King of lying when he claimed he worked "frantically behind the scenes" to help secure their release. Mr King on Friday took some credit for the safe return of Judith Raanan and her teenage daughter, Natalie Raanan. In an Instagram post, he said that he was grateful Ms Natalie and her mother had been freed. He also thanked the Qatari government for helping to negotiate their release.
"Dozens of us worked frantically behind the scenes to help make this possible," he wrote."I spoke to Natalie's family this afternoon and they are anxiously awaiting more updates," he added.
However, now members of the Raanan family said that the activist and author fabricated his involvement and that he did nothing to help, according to TMZ. "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," the Raanan family told the outlet. They also went on to say that Ms Natalie has never met Mr King, and she first learned about him today amid all the speculation.
But speaking to the Daily Beast, Ms Natalie's father, Uri Raana, later revealed that her brother Ben had been in contact with Mr King before her release by Hamas operatives, but said that the rest of the family had no clue about his involvement. "We reached out to many people far and wide to bring Natalie and Judith to safety. We are not affiliated with Mr King," the father said.
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Mr King has now gone on the defensive following the family's statement on his involvement. Taking to social media, he claimed that he "spoke directly and repeatedly" with this family since October 9 and that for him to lie about helping aid the mother and daughter's rescue "would be throwing everything away".
"At the advice of my attorneys, I kept every text, DM, and screenshot, and, according to state law, recorded all of my phone conversations. Thank God," Mr King wrote on social media while sharing screenshots of his alleged conversations with Ms Natalie's brother.
🚨STATEMENT from Ben Raanan, brother of Natalie Raanan, the young hostage that was freed by Hamas.Ben, a longtime supporter of mine, was the American spokesperson for the family and first reached out to me for help on October 9th.Followed by a THREAD of receipts/records. pic.twitter.com/BL4kRlewYD
In his post, Mr King included a statement by Mr Ben saying he reached out to the BLM activist knowing "he had many connections within the Palestinian government" and that although they might have "disagreements politically," they both value human life. Mr King also said that he recorded his conversation with Mr Ben for his "own protection".
Notably, Judith Raanan and her teenage daughter, Natalie Raanan were the first hostages released by the Hamas operatives. The Qatari government played a vital role in securing their release. The mother and daughter were abducted from Kibbutz Nahal Oz during the surprise assault on southern Israel carried out from Gaza by Iranian-backed Islamist militants of Hamas on October 7.