Friday, May 11, 2018

An Armenian Joke and What It Says about Polish-Jewish Relations

It takes one Jew to outwit ten Poles

It takes one Greek to outwit ten Jews

It takes one Armenian to outwit ten Greeks. 

I heard this joke in Poland, in Polish, from a Pole.

There are many variants to this joke. In place of "outwit," you could insert "cheat," "swindle," or "con." 

In some, the comparison is with Turks, or just undifferentiated Muslims. 

One can find variants here, here, here, here, here, here ...

There are two many versions of this joke on the internet to catalog fully here. 

Why does this joke matter to Polish-Jewish relations?

People, even otherwise friendly people, sometimes quite viciously attack my work, from my book, Bieganski: the Brute Polak Stereotype to my recent videos on the same topic. Their attacks reveal their agenda. 


I've heard this attack again, and again, and again. 

An otherwise friendly viewer of the above-linked Bieganski video insisted that I don't mention blood libel, a religion-linked false belief, in the video. I *do* mention blood libel. But this viewer was so primed for an attack on Christianity, an attack that did not arrive, that he couldn't even see what was right in front of his eyes. 

I do talk about Christianity in my work, but not as much as Christophobes would like. 

I do focus on middleman minority status, a status that is more about society and economics than about theology. 

Armenians were a middleman minority group, like Jews. Like Jews, they were victims of a genocide. In the above joke, Armenians are elevated as champion middleman minority group members, superseding Jews. Armenians were Christian. Their Christianity did not matter. It was their status as members of a middleman minority, and thus crafty cheats, that mattered to those who have disseminated versions of this international joke for centuries. 

No, my book Bieganski does not essentialize. It does not agree that middleman minority group members are crafty cheats and deserving of genocide. Rather, I am pointing to this stereotype as generative of hatred, as did Edna Bonacich. 

My work is correct. We must not focus exclusively on theology as the explanatory factor for antisemitism. We must focus on middleman minority status as well. 

I realize in posting this that I'm a voice crying into the wilderness. The dominant paradigm is to demonize Christianity. The answer to that is for Poles to tell their own story, and for Christians to do a better job of addressing antisemitism's historical realities. 



  1. Blaming Christianity for anti-Semitism and the Holocaust is pretty standard for Holocaust materials. I know: I have reviewed a lot of Holocaust materials and see it all the time.

    A good book that refutes this is the 1904 work by Bernard Lazare, a French Jew. The title of the book is: Anti-Semitism. Lazare shows that anti-Semitism flourished in pagan antiquity, long before Christianity.


    Dear Danusha, you are spot-on. There is a Polish philosopher his name is Andrzej Nowak. In one of his lectures he was talking about what he perceives as so-called circles of remembrance in Europe. I would have to watch it again so I will try to paraphrase them. One point was that traditional European culture is responsible for the Holocaust. Of course national identity is something only stuck-in-the-muds like for example Polish people have. We need a new identity as Europeans. One that is accepting and accommodating of basically the whole universe. If you do not want Muslim and African migrants you will have to care for with your hard earned taxpayers money you are basically Hitler. If they do not want to assimilate that's fine because national Cultures do not exist and they're fascist. Europe is responsible for the horrible Crimes of colonialism. Oh I beg to differ for example Slovak people did not have a call on me so why should they feel responsible and why should they pay for it? Oh yes because of "solidarity". Left wing ideas are basically a good idea. We should not be too harsh on the idealogues of communism. Let's celebrate Marx! No some People want say that he was not responsible for what people made out of his ideas. I don't agree with that viewpoint. Mostly because marx had written about how genocide is totally fine and the way he treated his very own family. A vile human creature with vile ideas is nothing to be celebrated and put up on a pedestal. Adolf Hitler was the ultimate anti Messiah if one was to use religious language. In comparison the communists were not that bad. When reps of central and eastern European countries asked to establish A Remembrance Day for the victims of communism they were also attacked as drum beat please-----anti-semites.yep. This sounds as if they the Jews were responsible for communism, doesnt it?

    In short we, the Poles the Hungarians the Romanians the Latvians ect. We are marginalized on several levels. Western Europe does not care about our feelings about our history about our culture and about our dignity. They see us as colonies were they can get rid of their second class merchandise, their used cars, the French tried to sell us completely overpriced helicopters (Poland choose the US). Lately they are again and again trying to use Poland and other countries as Lebensraum im Osten for illegal migrants they do not want for obvious reasons (uneducated, brutal, aggressive, unable to be educated, criminal, religious, sick, country of origin does not want them back ect). From us they want the following: our doctors our engineers our sportsman our nurses. They would like to treat them for rocket scientists from Afghanistan, pediatricians from Pakistan and fintech specialists from Gambia.

    This is happening in Europe right now Christianity is about to be marginalized in order to build the Brave New World people like Junkers are dreaming about. They are dreaming too take on the US and China seriously. In order to achieve this they need masses of people. Migration. Christianity is just not befitting their plan.

    Oh and one thing Danusha: although I am rather agnostic I can't help feeling that this is a battle between Good and Evil on a global scale. Haven't God promised that his Church and the Christian faith will prevail?
    After 70 years of communism Russian people are returning to the Orthodox church in droves. I have traveled many parts of Europe. I've spoken to the normal people there. The really smart ones are not leftists agree that countries such as Poland or Romania are doing it right. About this Aggression: II have also experienced it and my association was..... demonic possession. I know it sounds crazy. You know what Maradona says? If they attack you you are doing something the right way. You do not attack someone who does not possess the ball.

  3. Hello Dr. Goska,

    Christian Armenians were among the victims of Volhynian slaughter. Murdered Poles, Russians, Czechs and Hungarians were also Christians.
    Ukrainians (both victims and perpetrators) were Christians too.

    I mention that because Westerners tend to overemphasize the role of religion as a cause of conflicts in Eastern Europe.
    I wonder why. Maybe it's because all those wars of the Reformation.

    1. As far as the Jews' Holocaust is concerned, the blaming of Christianity serves to diffuse guilt away from where it belongs--the Germans.

    2. Lukasz thank you very much for sharing this information.

      You say the Reformation causes people to blame Christianity. I think it's part of the anti Western Civ trend on the left. Christianity, spec Catholicism, is a major pillar of Western Civ. Bring down Christianity, bring down Western Civ. Replace it with a Marxist Utopia.

  4. It’s beyond my comprehension why Poles and Polish Americans would defend Western Civilization. In the eyes of most Westerners, Poles and their country are half-barbarian and half-civilized. I guess the half-civilized barbarians must be afflicted by false consciousness.


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