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.
YOU DON'T BLAME CHRISTIANITY ENOUGH!!! CHRISTIANITY MADE POLES HATE AND MURDER JEWS!
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.