The objection came from an emailer who claimed:
Jews are not a race, any more than Anglicans or Catholics. Part of the persistence of anti-semitism lies in the thoughtless assumption that there is a race of people known as Jews, instead of a collection of individuals who have certain beliefs.
Speaking as a Jew, I am inclined to agree with Volokh. Jews are ethnically and culturally distinct from mainstream White and Christian America. Certainly, Jews are often mistaken for Whites or Christians, and often actively try and assimilate into White-Christian society. But I think that is more of a function of historical anti-Semitism on the part of the Christian community, Jews hope to dodge anti-Semitism by "passing" as White Christians. Christians simply refuse to see Jews as both unique AND equal, so Jews have been forced to choose one or the other. In many cases (understandably, considering the history of oppression foisted upon them!), Jews have chosen equality, and thus have suppressed the ethnic, historical, and cultural differences they have with the Christian community. (I realize the above is rather inflammatory AND incomplete--not a happy combination. Unfortuntately, the justification for is rather indepth and still a work in process (see below). So I'd ask patience as I try to formulate these thoughts into a broader, more coherent whole that I hope will be provocative without being offensive).
I actually have ALOT to say on this issue, and I'm in the process of writing a large paper on how the Christian construction of Jewish identity contributes to anti-Semitic oppression in general and anti-Israel policies in particular. Since I am still forming my thoughts on the matter, I'm reluctant to write further at this time. If anyone has any good resources or literature on the topic (or generic literature on Critical Theory), I'd be appreciative. So far, the ONLY book I've found on the topic is "Please Don't Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of the Seperation of Church and State" by Stephen Feldman, I'd like to branch out a bit.
UPDATE: I should say that categorizing Jews as a "race" only makes sense if one rejects the idea of "race" as referring to something biologically determinate (which I do). Race is a social construction, and, in many of the ways Jews have been constructed, we've been constructed as racially other. Insofar as to many, labeling Jews as "White" is a way of negating their historical differentiation from the dominant White castes, I am leery of chucking out the idea of race with regards to Jews so quickly. I should note that often non-White Jews still are assumed to be White simply by virtue of their Jewishness, or vice versa -- non-White Jews as presumed to be non-Jewish by virtue of their non-Whiteness. This is another demonstration of how the refusal to deal with Jews on their own terms tends to suppress diverse and heterogeneous Jewish experience.
The fluidity and plasticity of race as a concept and category means that we should not expect to be able to lock in how Jews fit in with the concept of race across all different times, spaces, and contexts. The Supreme Court rather wisely acceded to this view in Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb, 418 U.S. 615 (1987). Obviously, applying old-school racialization schemas to Jews has led to some pretty horrific results, which is why it is understandable that many Jews are quite suspicious of the term as a whole. On the other hand, as the valence of "race" has changed, particularly in progressive circles, it is important that Jews not be caught in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario. Just as Cheryl Harris complained that "at the very historical moment that race is infused with a perspective that reshapes it, through race-conscious remediation, into a potential weapon against subordination, official rules articulated in law deny that race matters",* Jews too should not be racialized only when it can hurt them, then deracialized at the precise moment where race re-emerges as a potential tool for liberal emancipation.
* Cheryl I. Harris, Whiteness as Property, 106 Harv. L. Rev. 1707, 1768 (1993).