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Chuck Freilich

Mailing address

One Brattle Square 505
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Mailbox 134
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Chuck Freilich

Senior Fellow, International Security Program

Telephone: 617-495-8898
Fax: 617-496-0606



Contact Information in Israel:
telefax: (972) 778-140-042
cell: (972) 544-880-677

U.S. cell number:
917 575-0273

Chuck Freilich was a Deputy National Security Adviser in Israel. He is now an International Security Program Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where he has recently completed a first of its kind book on Israeli national security decision-making processes, Zion's Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy, Cornell University Press, November 2012. He is now working on a new book on Israeli national security strategy, to be submitted for publication by early 2014.

Chuck's primary areas of expertise are the Middle East, U.S.-Middle East policy, and Israeli national security policy. He is an Adjunct Professor of political science at Harvard, New York, Columbia, and Tel Aviv Universities.

Chuck has appeared as a commentator for ABC, CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera and various U.S. and Israeli radio and TV stations. He has been quoted in the New York Times and other media and has published numerous articles and op-eds.

Chuck was a Senior Analyst at the Israel Ministry of Defense, focusing on strategic affairs, Policy Adviser to a cabinet minister and a Delegate at the Israeli Mission to the United Nations. He was the Executive Director of two nonprofit organizations and served in the Israel Defense Forces for five years (reserve major). Chuck earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Born in New York, he immigrated to Israel in his teens.



By Date



State Dept. Photo

August 5, 2014

"Can Israel Solve Its Gaza Nightmare?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"...[T]here is a fundamental popular misconception today regarding disproportionality in warfare. Warfare, the most heinous, if at times necessary, form of human endeavor is not about being fair and proportional; it is about wielding disproportionate force to defeat an enemy.



Natan Flyer Photo

July 12, 2014

"Death from Above: Israel's Hamas Nightmare Continues"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Israel's options are limited. Given the failure of the recent negotiations, there is no short-term diplomatic option. Israel cannot tolerate the current situation, but past experience demonstrates that even a major military operation will at most buy a temporary respite before the next round."



June 26, 2014

"The Middle East Heads towards a Meltdown"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"For decades, the United States was a leading player in the region and the primary stabilizer. Today, following its failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, compounded by the mishandling of regional developments since the onset of the 'Arab Spring', its regional influence is now at a decades-long nadir. This is not irreversible, but will require years to reverse and will severely impede its ability to influence events in the meantime."



White House Photo

June 26, 2014

"Mismanaging a Vital Relationship"

Op-Ed, The Jerusalem Post

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Netanyahu, however, went too far, criticizing the administration's approach for months and then strongly condemning the interim agreement, rather than working quietly to ensure that the potential downsides were minimized. In so doing he has managed to marginalize Israel on this issue and it is hardly a factor in the conduct of the negotiations."



Rudi Weissenstein Photo

April 3, 2014

"Why Palestine Must Recognize Israel as a Jewish State"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"The Jews' right to a nation-state was recognized by the League of Nations and United Nations. Israel is and always will be the nation-state of the Jewish people. That is its raison d'être, and it is high time that the Palestinians reconcile themselves to this."



March 19, 2014

"U.S.-Egyptian Relations on the Brink?"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Relations with authoritarian regimes have long posed a deep dilemma for American policy, between US strategic interests and the exigencies of realpolitik—the need to deal with the world as it is, not as we want it to be—and America's democratic ideals. In the pursuit of the former, the US has long supported numerous heinous regimes, none more so than the Saudi oil theocracy, or South Korea and South Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s."



U.S. State Dept. Photo

December 6, 2013

"A Good Agreement for Israel"


By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"By the very nature of compromise agreements, no side achieves all of its objectives. The danger is that by insisting on our maximum position, a complete elimination of the nuclear program, we will fail to achieve that which is feasible—freezing and rolling back the program and keeping it under inspection."



Wikimedia Commons

December 3, 2013

"The Other Iranian Breakthrough"

Op-Ed, Al-Monitor

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Israel's focus over the coming months, however, should be on an attempt to conduct an intensive and discrete dialogue with the United States and other powers involved, to ensure that the final agreement is the best one possible, given the circumstances. Unfortunately, there will not be a knockout blow and Israel will probably have to continue living with an ongoing, if greatly diminished, Iranian threat. Not the outcome we sought, but apparently better than the alternatives."



White House Photo

November 27, 2013

"Netanyahu's Finest Hour—Or Not"

Op-Ed, The National Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"Netanyahu’s hard line is thus both understandable and at least partly justified, but his harsh criticism of the agreement ('a historic mistake') has been too strident, positioning Israel to look as the primary opponent of the agreement and exposing a rift with its irreplaceable ally, the United States. Moreover, in so blatantly positioning himself in opposition, he has probably undermined his own most important objective at this time—ensuring that the final agreement is the best deal possible."



November 15, 2013

"A Bad Deal on Iran?"

Op-Ed, American Interest

By Chuck Freilich, Senior Fellow, International Security Program

"The Obama administration maintains that the sanctions relief offered in exchange was limited and would not have undermined the basic sanctions regime, which has had a devastating effect on Iran's oil exports and access to the international financial system. It also argues, correctly, that a negotiated deal is preferable to the alternatives and the best outcome for all parties concerned, Israel and Saudi Arabia included."



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