Latest Batch of Emails: Update on Hillary’s Gefilte Fish

Newly released emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server include an update on the gefilte fish story that fascinated the political world when first revealed last year.

The first email released on August 30, 2015, had the subject line “Gefilte Fish,” in which Hillary asked her staff, “Where are we on this?” According to media reports, the email was sent during a 2010 U.S.-Israeli trade dispute, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Israel had imposed a large tariff on imported carp (often used for gefilte fish), harming Schafer Fisheries from Illinois, that exported a lot of carp to Israel. As a result, some 400,000 pounds of frozen carp (nice containers) were held up. The issue was later resolved after the intervening of Hillary and Ambassador Oren, as noted in Oren’s memoir, first reported by Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg.

On Saturday, the State Department released more than 1,000 new pages of emails, as part of a federal court order for officials to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request. One of the emails included the update Hillary had requested.

In an email dated March 05, 2010, Richard Verma, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, wrote to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton the following: “Here is a summary of where we stand on the gefilte fish issue: On the narrow issue of whether the Israelis will allow the two containers being held at customs in Haifa to be admitted duty-free, we are making progress. The Israelis have committed to try to find a work-around, although they claim it’s somewhat complicated legally, and we are hopeful that will be resolved in the coming days. On the larger issue of the remaining 7 containers still in the U.S. and waiting to be shipped, as well as future shipments, it is much more difficult and more complicated because Israel has the legal right to impose the duties under our existing bilateral trade and economic agreements. We need USTR to get engaged, and U/S Hormats placed a call to the Deputy USTR this morning to request their engagement. Meanwhile, Rep. Manzullo is appreciative of the work we’re doing to free up the two containers stuck in Haifa, but is still concerned about the remaining seven containers and the longer-term issue. Of note, Rep. Weiner has become engaged on this issue as well, and co-wrote a letter with Manzullo to the Israeli ambassador last week urging Israel to reverse its decision to impose duties on U.S. carp.”

The letter included the text of a letter sent by Reps. Manzullo and Weiner, in which the two Congressmen plead to Ambassador Oren that “Israel revert to their old policy of not taxing imported U.S. carp so that the important and symbolic tradition of eating gefilte fish on Jewish holidays is available to all Israelis.”

The letter ends with, “Let our people(‘s fish) go!”

Hillary Gefilte Fish Email by Jake Korn

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