I came across the following anecdote from the Judaism Stack Exchange: https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/5940/jewish-community-in-china-around-ww2/5942
During the questions portion of the lecture someone asked Professor Xin why the Japanese, allies of the Nazis tolerated Jewish emigration from Europe to China during WW2 if the Japanese knew of the Nazi's plans with the Jews? Professor Xin offered an anecdote about how the Japanese, who were not fully understanding of the Nazi animosity towards Jews, gathered some prominent Jews that were in the area and asked them why the Nazis hated them so much. The Jews told the japanese "it's because we are Asian". That got a laugh from the crowd, since Professor Xin had framed the lecture earlier by mentioning that Israel could geographically be considered part of Asia.
(I am not sure if the humor comes across well in writing so I will explain it:) The joke was that the Jews understood that the Japanese, the ones asking them the question, were Asian. So by linking the Jews to Asia they would be suggesting that perhaps the Nazis might have it out for the Japanese as well, and as a result the Japanese would not be so keen on helping the Nazis.
There's an answer with a citation, but it was somewhat qualified:
I can't vouch for the reliability of this source, but the story is found in Warren Kozak, The Rabbi of 84th Street: The Extraordinary Life of Haskel Besser (HarperCollins, 2004), pp. 176-7 (cited in the Wikipedia article on the Shanghai Ghetto):
When the Germans pressed the Japanese to turn over the entire Jewish community [in Shanghai], the Japanese military governor sent for its leaders. Fearing the worst, the community sent a small delegation including the Amshinover Rebbe, Shimon [Shalom] Kalish, along with someone who could translate through English...
The Japanese governor was curious. He did not understand why these Jews were singled out from all other Europeans... Finally the governor broke his silence, speaking in Japanese with a quick, terse question, which was translated by one of his lieutenants into English. The English-Yiddish interpreter then translated it into Yiddish. "Farvoos hoben di Daitschen aich azoy feint - Why do the Germans hate you so much?" Without hesitation and knowing the fate of his community hung on his answer, Reb Kalish told the translator, "Zugim weil mir senen orientalim - Tell him the Germans hate us because we are Oriental."
The Japanese governor, whose face had been stern throughout the confrontation, broke into a slight smile. In spite of the military alliance, he did not accede to the German demand and the Shanghai Jews were never handed over.
To me, it's an amusing anecdote about how easily governments can be manipulated if you fit their ideology, and how arbitrary race is, but it sounds like the kind of thing someone would make up.
Did this exchange, or something similar to it, happen?