< Distinguished speaker series

Robert O. Freedman, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor

Johns Hopkins University

Israel and Russia – A Troubled 75 - Year Relationship

DATE: June 22, 2023 6:00 pm

LOCATION: World Trade Center Baltimore

Event information

Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary this month in a state of outward strength and internal turmoil. Militarily, it’s the strongest state in the region. Diplomatically, it’s made major gains in its long-sought relations with Arab states. Its internal politics, however, have turned bitter and divisive in a public dispute over the nature of Israeli democracy.

On the occasion of the anniversary, our next speaker, Professor Robert O. Freedman, will take a critical look at a key element of Israel’s foreign relations – its ties with Russia.

Russia has provided military and diplomatic support to Israel’s enemies over the past 75 years, and it’s given direct and indirect aid to terror groups that attacked Israel. Russia is now locked in an ever-closer relationship with Iran, which seeks Israel’s destruction. Yet after Russia invaded Ukraine last year and turned to Iran to supply lethal attack drones, Israel has offered minimal military assistance to the victim of aggression. Indeed, since the rise of Vladimir Putin, Dr. Freedman asserts in a new paper, Israel has been the junior partner in the relationship, giving Russia much more than it has received in return.

His thesis is carefully grounded and is well worth hearing and debating.

Professor Freedman is one of the leading U.S. authorities on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy.

He received his B.A. in Diplomatic History from the University of Pennsylvania and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in International Relations from Columbia University. He has been an Assistant Professor of Russian History at the United States Military Academy, Associate Professor of Political Science and Russian at Marquette University and Professor of Political Science at the Baltimore Hebrew University, including a tenure as President of the institution.  Currently, he is a Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University.  He is the author or co-author of twenty books.  He has been a commentator on National Public Radio, the BBC, and the Voice of America as well as other major American news outlets.  He has advised policymakers in the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Israeli Defense Ministry and the Israeli Foreign Ministry.  He has also been called upon to serve the United States government on delegations to Moscow, Beijing, Uzbekistan, and Tunis.  Professor Freedman is well-known to members of the Council, having addressed it on a number of occasions since 1981.



Notable Accomplishments:

Assistant Professor of Russian History, U.S. Military Academy

Associate Professor of Political Science & Russian Studies, Marquette University

Professor of Political Science, Baltimore Hebrew University

Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University

MA and Ph.D. in International Relations, Columbia University

BA in Diplomatic History, University of Pennsylvania

Former president of the Association for Israel Studies


Soviet foreign policy: 



Russia, Iran, and the Nuclear Question: The Putin Record

Soviet Policy Toward the Middle East Since 1970 

Moscow and the Middle East: Soviet Policy Since the Invasion of Afghanistan 

Israeli-Russian Relations Since the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Soviet-Israeli Relations Under Gorbachev 

Israel and the Middle East: 

The Middle East Enters the Twenty-First Century

Israel’s First Fifty Years

Israel in the Begin Era

Israel Under Rabin 

The Middle East and the Peace Process

Does America’s Pivot to Asia Depend on a Stable Middle East? | The National Interest

A U.S. Pivot to Asia Requires Securing the Middle East | The National Interest