Last Monday, The Guardian splurged out with a sensational front page article by Chris McGreal suggesting that Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to South Africa in the 1970's. The Age couldn't resist the temptation and followed suit by reproducing the article even as grave doubts as to the reliability of the report were surfacing. Respected elder statesman and current Israeli President Shimon Peres scorned the suggestion and it's become clear from the various analyses that the whole saga is based on yet another fiction (see Melanie Phillips both here and here) by the Bash Israel Lobby that has such prevalence within the ailing Fairfax organisation.
The end result can be seen in this nasty piece of lying by a letter writer whose work can be found in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:
Nuclear questions Israel must answer
We have now been given ''conclusive proof'' about Israel's offer to sell apartheid South Africa nuclear weapons in 1975 (''Top secret: Israel offered to sell nuclear bombs'', May 25).
Kambiz Afrachteh Potts Point
Even in McGreal's nasty piece of work the claim that Israel offered to sell nuclear arms is at best a contested issue but by publishing this letter, the SMH accepts the lie that an alleged offer was made or even discussed by Israel at the time.
The constant lies and abuse of this one nation under siege from neighbours ready to pulverise it into extinction leads to thoughts such as these from another uninformed SMH reader:
Despite repeated inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, there has been no ''conclusive proof'' that Iran is engaged in a nuclear weapons program.
Therefore it may be politic for Evan Guttman (Letters, May 26) and other apologists for Israel's actions to stop scapegoating Iran and to drop from their repertoire of ''relative immoralisms'' any reference to nuclear proliferation. If not, the world might start to get suspicious about its ''inconclusively proven'' arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons. Goodness me, they could even conclude that Israel's regional nuclear monopoly is inevitably the first domino in the nuclear proliferation of the Middle East.
This is journalism at its most rancid.