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Hillary Clinton's Fight For Gefilte Fish

Jars of gefilte fish sit on the shelves at a market in Yardley, Pa.
William Thomas Cain
Getty Images
Jars of gefilte fish sit on the shelves at a market in Yardley, Pa.

Of the more than 7,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's emails released by the State Department this week, one was (literally) fishy:

/ State Department
State Department

Gefilte fish is a Jewish dish (some would say delicacy) made of chopped fish. The night of the email release, reaction and theories on the story behind that email came in quickly:

In reality, the email was sent during a 2010 U.S.-Israeli trade dispute. Israel had imposed a large tariff on imported carp (often used in the dish). That tariff was particularly harming one American fishery that exported a lot of carp to Israel.

Schafer Fisheries in Thomson, Ill., was the leading provider of Asian carp, which are caught in the Mississippi River, to Israel. But because of the tariff, the company had about 400,000 pounds of frozen carp held up, owner Mike Schafer told NPR's All Things Considered back in 2010. The Israeli factory he worked with couldn't "afford the tariff on that product and still be able to sell it to their different stores and outlets," he said.

The fish crisis happened ahead of Passover, when gefilte fish is often served.

Hillary Clinton got involved, and some of the fish was let back into Israel.

So where are we on gefilte fish? According to Schafer, "Israel is still holding steadfast on their tariff over there, and it's impacting what they do."

His said his company doesn't really deal much with Israel anymore. Instead it has expanded to other countries like the Dominican Republic and China. And as for Schafer's hundreds of thousands of pounds of carp that were held up back then? The inventory "actually ended up going to fertilizer," he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.