I am only asking this question to educate myself, not because I am anti-semitic or for any other hidden agenda. I do not want to turn this forum into an ugly place. I realize this question is controversial, I will not be angry if it is closed by moderators. It would seem to me that this is a forum for believers which I am not and so my question is perhaps out of place. However any comments would be helpful including references to other material.
Further the term 'racist' has an emotionally negative connotation. I am not trying to cast judgment. I am trying to better understand Judaism. For the sake of this question I 'racism' should not be considered a dirty concept.
It has always seemed to me that the fundamental tenets of the Jewish religion and of the state of Israel shared much with other doctrines of racial preference.
There would seem to be within Judaism a belief that Jews should help out other Jews with a heightened sense of urgency (vis a vis a non-Jew). Because Jews consider being Jewish is considered to be an ethnic identity this would imply that a good Jew is a 'racist' Jew. (Again I do not cast judgment, I only seek understanding).
(One of the moderators asked that I expand upon the above section.)
It is hard for me to denote a specific example without it being an event from my own life, which is of course not a large enough sample set and so I feel is not a fair representation. You could say the above is a sense I get from working with, living amongst and speaking with persons who are 'actively Jewish.' Amongst those I know who are not 'actively Jewish' there is much less attention paid to the identity of others and and commentary or benefit associated with that identity.
I will provide a specific example reluctantly as I feel it casts judgment. I have had two bosses who identified as Jews, one actively Jewish (attended synagogue and gave to AIPAC substantially) and another not actively Jewish (non-kosher, did not celebrate holidays, but identified as being a 'Jew'). The actively Jewish boss had mostly Jews in positions of power in the firm (myself excepted although I am often mistaken for being Jewish and may have been so at the time of hire). The other boss had a mix of people, and in fact I believe none were Jewish except for himself. The actively Jewish person viewed interactions with others as being very colored by his own Jewish identity or the Jewish or non-Jewish identity of the other party. The inactively Jewish person did not.
I hope this is helpful. I very much appreciate your taking my question seriously. It is a very sincere question and I very much desire to gain wisdom.
This is my guess:
One central tenet of Judaism is that of Jewish identity. To protect this concept of Jewish identity certain racist practices and rules have evolved over the years to maintain and protect the religion from the diluting powers of assimilation and intermarriage. In addition, because of the collapse of the temple Jews were spread out around the world and therefore were often strangers in other countries. Like any group in such a situation there was a need to 'stick together' as members of the 'native' communities were often hostile.
I thank you in advance for helping me to better understand Jews and Judaism so that I can better appreciate one of the worlds oldest and richest cultures.