Carinne Luck

carinne luck

“What we have seen emerge is the need for [young] people to feel like they can take action on the ground in their community and be visible around an opposition to the Occupation.”

Peace Activism
2003 – present
IfNotNow
J Street
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Interview Date
June 30, 2015

Interviewer
Aliza Becker

The Interview

For more than a decade, the prominent features of Carinne Luck’s work in the Jewish peace movement have been a fierce commitment to justice, a fresh perspective on American Jewry, and creative organizing skills. Her unique viewpoint has been reflected in her innovative organizing as national grassroots field director for the American two-state peace organizations Brit Tzedek v’Shalom and J Street (2004 to 2011), and as a co-founder in 2014 of IfNotNow.

Luck is a fourth generation Israeli from Tel Aviv. After her family moved to England and then the United States, the bicultural activist returned to Israel each summer and maintained continuity in her Israeli identity.

When Luck started Boston University in 1999, she was astounded to find that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “the major political issue” on campus despite the fact that Israel is “very far away.” Although Luck did feel close to the left on many other issues, when it came to Israel, she felt isolated. She was especially upset when the left conflated Iraq and Palestine at anti-Iraq War protests. She recalls, “I was like why is this about Ariel Sharon? America clearly had its own very strong brand of rightwing militarism that I feel was pretty disconnected from Israel.” Even worse was that some justified suicide bombings as righteous acts of resistance. She thought, “I don't think your humanism extends to me and my family.”

Luck found an American home on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, where she began an organizing job in 2004. She believes that the primary legacy of the grassroots peace group was the “American style of community organizing it brought to this issue.” Its political strategy targeted Congress and the President; its communal strategy was based on building relationships with supportive rabbis and Jewish communal institutions; and its messaging strategy emphasized discipline and accessibility. Brit Tzedek members were encouraged to stay focused on the organizational message as part of something larger than their own opinions, and to express it using language others could hear. This enabled Brit Tzedek “to punch far above its weight.”

Biography

Carinne Luck was born in Tel Aviv in 1981 to a family whose roots there go back to the 1880s. Her great, great grandfather immigrated to Mandatatory Palestine “because he felt that Jews would only be safe with other ‘sons of Shem.’” He worked with Theodore Herzl to become the first general manager of the Anglo Palestine Bank in 1902, the forerunner of Bank Leumi. His memoir is entitled, To the Land of our Forefathers.

Luck’s family moved to England when she was four, but she continued to spend summers in Israel. When she moved to the U.S. in 1999, Luck viewed her Judaism and her Israeli identity as synonymous in the sense that they were “secular, national, and cultural.” The cultural component is Middle Eastern: “anyone can come to your house; the door is always open; having really delicious food, and being crazy drivers.”

Luck did her undergraduate work at Boston University and her graduate studies at New York University. She worked for Brit Tzedek v’Shalom as National Organizer/Director of Grassroots Organizing from 2004-2007,. Luck was hired in 2007 as J Street’s Chief of Staff and then became Field Director and Vice President for Field and Campaigns until she left in 2012. She was a co-founder of IfNotNow in August of 2014 and continues to advise the group.

Luck is an Independent Organizer/Campaign Strategist.

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