In arguing against the tendency of Islamophobes to claim that because Islam is a religion they can't, therefore, be considered racists, Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, unfortunately puts his foot in it with this:
"The distinction between race and religion is a complex one... the two can overlap. For example, we consider anti-Semitism to involve a form of racism, even though Jewishness involves a religious identity. This is because Jewishness also has an ethnic character; Jews consider themselves to be a people." (Distinction between religion and race should not make bigotry respectable, Sydney Morning Herald, 21/11/14)
Jewishness has an ethnic character?
Jews consider themselves to be a people.
The truth is that anti-Semites invariably consider Jews to be 'a people', as do political Zionists. To the extent that both believe in biology as the key determinant of a person's identity, and discriminate against others on that basis, both exhibit racism.
As Shlomo Sand explains:
"The State of Israel defines me as a Jew, not because I express myself in a Jewish language, hum Jewish songs, eat Jewish food, write Jewish books or carry out any Jewish activity. I am classified as a Jew because this state, after having researched my origins, has decided that I was born of a Jewish mother, herself Jewish because my grandmother was likewise, thanks to (or because of) my great-grandmother, and so on through the chain of generations until the dawn of time. If chance should have had it that only my father was considered a Jew, while in the eyes of Israeli law my mother was 'non-Jewish', I would have been registered as an Austrian..." (How I Stopped Being a Jew, 2014, p 2)
And where does this biological determinist nonsense lead? Shlomo Sand again:
"There is a close link between the identification of Jews as an ethnos or eternal race-people, and the politics of Israel towards those of its citizens who are viewed as non-Jews, as well as towards immigrant workers from distant lands and, clearly, towards its neighbours, deprived of rights and subject for nearly 50 years to a regime of occupation. It is hard to deny a glaring reality: the development of an essentialist, non-religious identity encourages the perpetuation of ethnocentric, racist or quasi-racist positions, both in Israel and abroad." (p 7)
As for Islamophobes, scratch one and you'll invariably find an Arabophobe underneath.