Natalie Shoshana Raanan, 17, and her mother Judith Tai Raanan, 59, arrived back in Israel late on Friday having left Gaza via an Egyptian-controlled crossing.
The Raanans were two of over 200 hostages taken by the Islamic terror group following their shock slaughter of at least 1,400 in Israel on October 7.
King said that ‘dozens of us’ worked on their freeing and that the Raanan family ‘have been supporters of mine, and protested police violence in America alongside us.’
But the family say King is lying and he did nothing to help the two women to their freedom, saying in a statement that: ‘First and foremost, we make it clear he is lying!’
Controversial Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is being called a liar by the family of two American hostages who he claims he ‘worked frantically behind the scenes’ to free from Hamas
Judith Tai Raanan and her daughter Natalie Shoshana Raanan arrived back in Israel late on Friday, the Israeli government confirmed
‘Our family does not and did not have anything to do with him, neither directly nor indirectly,’ they told TMZ. ‘Not to him and not to anything he claims to represent.’
Uri Raanan, Natalie’s father, later said to The Daily Beast that his son had been contacting King but that he still had little do with the release.
‘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,’ Raanan added. ‘We have nothing further to say.’
King, in a statement, claims he’s telling the truth but did not specify that he talked to anyone beyond the Raanan’s son.
‘I spoke directly and repeatedly with this family. I have a job, career, and family. I would be throwing everything away to make such a thing up,’ King said. ‘Thankfully I kept records of all of them.’
King said that ‘dozens of us’ worked on their freeing and that the Raanan family ‘have been supporters of mine, and protested police violence in America alongside us’
However, the family say that King is lying and he did nothing to help the two women to their freedom, saying in a statement that: ‘First and foremost, we make it clear he is lying!’
‘Our family does not and did not have anything to do with him, neither directly nor indirectly,’ they said in a statement
The screenshotted messages King posted show that he thought King had contacts in Palestine who could help.
He also said that he recorded all of his conversations with Ben Raanan, though he did not say if Ben was aware of this.
The Raanans have yet to respond to the thread, in which King posts alleged texts where Ben calls him ‘a real hero.’ Raanan has since taken down his Instagram account.
The former media pundit also claimed that Israel pressured the Raanan family to distance themselves from him.
King has a history of stretching the truth, even with those he claims to help, having in the past used donor funds to purchase an award-winning show dog which he later returned for having a ‘little too much energy.’
His political action committee, Grassroots Law, made two contributions to California-based Potrero Performance Dogs in the last year, finance disclosures revealed. The funds, totaling more than $40,000, were for ‘contractor services.’
Days after Grassroots made its second contribution in February, King welcomed Marz, a Potrero-bred thoroughbred, to his family. The dog was returned to the breeder last month.
King has battled allegations of fraud for many years, but has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing in connection to Grassroots, which he founded to help get soft-on-crime officials elected to office.
King has also been accused of fraud on various occasions, including by the mother of Tamir Rice – a 12-year-old Ohio boy killed by Cleveland police – who claims he held unauthorized fundraisers in her son’s name.
King, who has also been accused of fraud on various occasions, posted what he claims were a statement and screenshots from Natalie’s brother Ben proving he helped free the women
In December 2021, the Real Justice PAC, which King cofounded, was ordered to pay the city of Philadelphia $30,000 after having admitted to making omissions in its finance reports while working on District Attorney Larry Krasner’s campaign.
In 2019, King released an audit claiming he received a monthly salary of $4,166 from Real Justice PAC and ‘no compensation at all’ from Grassroots predecessor Action PAC.
He alleged he was ‘literally the only person’ on the PAC’s staff who didn’t receive a salary, saying: ‘I have not received a salary or a stipend of any kind for the entire year. I do it all for free.’
That same year, he was accused by former ally DeRay Mckesson of following a ‘uniform pattern’ of fraud for many years.
In an open letter, Mckesson alleged King acted in ways that ‘compromise others, compromise the collective work, and compromise a shared sense of integrity.’
King has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
King (pictured in Sept. 2019) has been accused of fraud on various occasions over the last several years, but has not been formally accused of any wrongdoing in connection to Grassroots. He has denied all allegations of wrongdoing
The Raanans walked out of Gaza without obvious visible physical injuries, getting out of a car and then being surrounded by ICRC staff wearing vests bearing the red cross. The pair then got into a Red Cross vehicle and drove away.
They are now receiving medical treatment, the governor of Illinois said, without providing details of their condition. The deal to free the pair was brokered by Qatar.
Her brother, Ben, joked that he was ‘annoyed’ because she still looked ‘like a supermodel’, despite her ordeal.
‘She’s doing good. She’s doing very good,’ said Uri Raanan, 71, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, adding that they did not discuss where she was held or her conditions in captivity.
‘She did not tell me anything. But she told me they treat her nice, and she was doing very good.
‘I’m going to hug her and kiss her, and it’s going to be the best day of my life.’
Knowing Natalie may be able to celebrate her 18th birthday next week at home with family and friends feels ‘wonderful. The best news,’ Uri Raanan said.
He said he believes Natalie and Judith to be in transit to Tel Aviv to reunite with relatives, and that both will be back in the U.S. early next week.
‘I spoke with my daughter earlier today – she sounds good, and she looks good,’ he told a press conference outside his home.
‘I spoke with President Biden. I thanked him for his concern, in releasing them. He was very nice.
‘I spoke to Governor Pritzker and he was nice.
‘And hopefully I will see them next week. Next week is Natalie’s birthday, and we will celebrate it here.’