Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Majority-Muslim Kosovo Puts Jewish Congressman On Stamp

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Eliot Engel has become the first U.S. congressman to be featured on a postage stamp in Kosovo.

Engel, a New York Democrat, may be the first Jewish member of Congress on a stamp, period. Bella Abzug helped inspire a 1999 stamp celebrating the women’s rights movement, but the late New York Democrat’s face isn’t on it.

Engel was among a cadre of U.S. lawmakers and public figures who urged the Clinton administration to intervene during the Kosovo war in 1999, heading off what many feared would be a genocide of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians at the hands of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Many of the same figures were part of the push to recognize the Balkan state when it declared independence in 2008.

Among those members of Congress out front in the push to protect Kosovo were Jewish, including Engel. Ask Kosovar Albanians why, and more often than not they’ll explain that it’s because the men are Jewish: Albanians saved Jews during the Holocaust, and Jews subsequently returned the favor.

Engel’s stamp was presented to him this week when he was in the country to help open an office of the Millennium Challenge Corp., a U.S. government assistance agency. Engel’s office helped secure a $49 million MCC grant for the country.

“I’m deeply honored and surprised that this was being done. I had no idea,” Engel told JTA in an email message. “My work to promote the U.S.-Kosovo relationship has been among the most meaningful endeavors of my years in Congress. I’m happy to have helped people’s lives and promote prosperity in the region.”

It’s not Engel’s first honor in the country: In 2008, the town of Pec named a street for him.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.