Alexander Goldfarb, a Jewish molecular biologist who recently emigrated from the Soviet Union to Israel, was in the Cambridge area on Tuesday to publicize the plight of dissident Soviet scholars.
In an informal discussion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Goldfarb gave credit to Western scientists for the Soviet government's decision allowing him to emigrate after rejecting his original visa application.
Goldfarb, who visited members of the Harvard Biology Department earlier on Tuesday, said he was initially refused permission to emigrate on the grounds that he possessed secret military and warfare information important to the security of the Soviet state.
Goldfarb said, "People who know real military secrets don't apply to emigrate because they may disappear." He said his research involved physiological biochemistry and said it was an absurdity to try to relate it to warfare and military secrets.
A translator at press conferences for 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, Goldfarb stressed that he agrees with Sakharov that trade between the United States and the USSR be contingent upon guarantees of the right emigrate.
With detente the Soviet government dropped American imperialism as its perennial evil, substituting world-wide Zionist conspiracy, Goldfarb said.
A Last Resort
The Soviet government is afraid to let people emigrate freely, he said, because it would allow scholars to pressure the government for academic freedom by threatening to leave Russia as a last resort.
The foundation of the regime is threatened by academic freedom and freedom of the press, according to Goldfarb, Referring to Marxist-Leninist regimes, he said, "If they're honest like Allende (president of Chile from 1970-1973) they lose power."