As if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doesn’t already have enough trouble with Israel, now this: Clinton is now expected to put some pressure on the Israelis once again, this time not because of the settlements, but because of gefilte fish.
Turns out that Israel has imposed a 120% import duty on processed gefilte fish — the famous Jewish Passover staple, and this decision made it to the floor of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.
“I have [in my district] the world’s only fish processor of gefilte fish,” stated Illinois Republican Don Manzullo when his turn came to present Clinton with questions. As Manzullo described the origins of the fish (Asian carp caught in Lower Mississippi and the Great Lakes), Secretary Clinton began to chuckle as did some of the committee members.
“This is true,” Manzullo insisted and went on to speak of the problem: “There are nine containers of this that are locked up,” because of the Israeli duty and “Passover is getting closer.”
The Israeli embassy was already approached on this issue, but with the holiday approaching and tons of gefilte fish still waiting in Thompson, Ill., Manzullo felt he needed to take the issue higher up. “I just want to see if there is anything you can do to get the gefilte fish to Israel by Passover.”
Secretary Clinton seemed to be amused by this little-known international trade disput,e but promised she would “take on this mission.” However, Clinton added that she couldn’t promise the problem would be solved in time. “If not, we’ll have to figure out what to do with nine containers,” she added.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Secretary Clinton Urged To Press Israel To Remove Israel’s New Barrier — Against Foreign Gefilte Fish