On Saturday, left-wing activist Shaun King took to social media to claim that the family of Natalie Raanan, one of the American hostages freed by Hamas, were supporters of his and that he helped to facilitate her and her mother's release. However, the family says they had no idea who King was until after the release.
In a post on Instagram, King wrote, "Hamas has just freed the teenager Natalie Raanan and her mother. I’m grateful." He noted, "As I said last week, Natalie and her family have been supporters of mine and protested police violence in America alongside us."
"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," King added. "I spoke to Natalie’s family this afternoon and they are anxiously awaiting more updates."
After the post, Journalist Yuna Leibzon refuted King's assertion in a long thread on X, she said, "It is important to clarify: the family of Natalie and Yehudit Ra'anan says they have no idea who Sean King is and they first found out about his existence after their release and reading the posts."
She noted that King discussed Natalie's half-brother Ben, and said "Uri, the father of Ben and Natalie told me tonight that he had no idea about this referral, and that the family simply turned everywhere to anyone who could help."
Leibzon noted that King is a "known hater of Israel" and that "Judith is part of the Chabad community in her city and according to her associates it is ridiculous to say that she is anything other than a lover of Israel." She claims that King's goal is to raise "'doubts' to the point that people have already determined that they support Hamas."
Since Leibzon's report spread across the internet, King proceeded to release private messages between himself and Ben, and he recorded all of his conversations with the family.
Natalie and Judith Rannan were taken hostage after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel from Gaza on October 7, killing over 1,300 people. The pair were released by the group Saturday, but the family said in a statement that "eight other family members are still missing in Gaza."
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