Hamas released two American hostages, Judith Tai Raanan and her 17-year-old daughter Natalie Raanan, on Friday, nearly two weeks after initiating a deadly attack in Israel and kidnapping approximately 200 people.
IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated on Friday that the US citizens were turned over at the Gaza border and are now in the custody of the Israeli Defense Forces. They are en route to an Israeli military base to be reunited with their families, according to the office of the Israeli prime minister.
According to their family, the Raanans were held hostage on October 7 while they were visiting relatives in Nahal Oz, a farming community in southern Israel.
Following their release, US Vice President Joe Biden congratulated the two men, saying, “I’m glad you’re out.”
Judith and Natalie, I’m so glad you’re coming home. pic.twitter.com/c7az0PcYXn
— President Biden (@POTUS) October 21, 2023
“I hope you’re both not only feeling good, but in good health as well,” Biden added.
Hamas alleged that they were released due to Qatar’s intervention for “humanitarian reasons.” However, there is nothing humane about murdering women and children or holding them captive.
BLM activist Shaun King attempted to join the conversation, as if that wasn’t already more than enough drama for any family to cope with.
The Shaun King story is worse than you think. He’s also been claiming for days that the younger hostage was a fan of his and that she was outspoken about “injustice in Israel.” https://t.co/IJ03x8b9Wq
— Noam Blum 🚡 (@neontaster) October 21, 2023
“Dozens of us worked frantically behind the scenes to help make this possible,” he added.
King asserted that the freed hostages were his “supporters” who had even “protested police violence.”
One small problem: The family utterly demolished his claims.
“The family of released mother and daughter clarified: ‘Judith and Natalie have no idea who [Shaun King] is. They heard about him and the post for the first time only after they were released.” https://t.co/4kcZeoocWc pic.twitter.com/JbHShO4veA
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 21, 2023
“The family of released mother and daughter clarified: ‘Judith and Natalie have no idea who [Shaun King] is. They heard about him and the post for the first time only after they were released,” a Huffington Post reporter revealed.
Here is a longer statement released by the family:
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
This is what the family said, according to the translated report:
First and foremost, we make it clear that he is lying! Our family does not and did not have anything to do with him [King], 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.
Shaun King is trying to catch a ride on the great exposure that her kidnapping received all over the world and in the US 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 later clarified that a family member had reached out to King without their knowledge.
Later, Natalie’s father, Uri, told The Daily Beast that her brother, Ben, had been in contact with King—but he still distanced the clan from the activist.
“We reached out to many people far and wide to bring Natalie and Judith to safety. We are not affiliated with Mr. King,” he said. “Ben, my son was talking with him without anybody in the family knowing about it until today. Our family in Israel posted this statement denying we knew him, before we learned about Ben talking to him. We have nothing further to say.”
Apparently, the sibling believed that King had “Palestinian contacts” while they were reaching out to anyone who might be able to assist their family members.
King then published private communications with the brother and claimed he had recorded their conversations.
King also indicated that he had recorded all conversations with Ben “for my own protection” though it’s not clear if Ben knew he was being taped.
It also appears that he made false claims about Natalie and her mother being his supporters, contrary to what the family has said. So far, King has produced no evidence to show that he was materially involved in the release of the two women.