Netanyahu canceled his attendance at the event at the last minute, citing the high cost of the trip. Israel is being represented by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and five other lawmakers instead.
Netanyahu's inability to travel is "a travesty," Mondoweiss wrote in its public appeal for donations." Mandela is a global hero, and don’t forget, Israel and South Africa have a relationship going back decades. Is that how you treat a friend?!"
"Okay, so maybe Bibi hasn’t always been the most frugal, and lord knows we’ve had our differences in the past, but this is a time to put politics aside and give help where it’s needed."
Referring to Israeli press reports that Netanyahu's trip was projected to cost some $2 million, Mondoweiss wrote that it had searched online and found a much better price flying coach on Turkish Airlines - $3,450. That is the sum Mondoweiss had hoped to raise, it said.
"Thank you for your support," the appeal concluded. "Together with Bibi we can all help truly make Greater Israel, the Greatest Israel. Give today."
Clicking on the link to donate funds actually brings readers to a page that reads: "Please help Mondoweiss continue our work to cover and debate American foreign policy in the Middle East from a progressive Jewish perspective."