August 26, 2019
This photograph looks like neo-Nazi propaganda, a photoshopped meme doing the rounds on Alt Right Twitter perhaps: the crazed, fanatic Jew orchestrating the fury of the brown horde against the western world and everything it stands for.
But the image is real. The Jew was Sidney Rittenberg. Here we see him holding up Mao’s Little Red Book in the midst of the “Cultural Revolution,” the part of Chink Communist history when they went full crazy.
Rittenberg has just died now, too, back in America, having become rich acting as a consultant for American blue chips wanting to do business in China, a living embodiment of the anti-Semitic trope of the Jew who plays both sides, ultimate Communist and ultimate capitalist.
The New York Times obit somehow manages to leave out the fact that Rittenberg was a Jew. The Washington Post at least deigns to mention it.
Sidney Rittenberg Jr. was born in Charleston on Aug. 14, 1921, to a Jewish family steeped in politics. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Lithuania and served five terms in the state House of Representatives. Mr. Rittenberg’s father was president of the Charleston City Council.
He attributed his activist leanings to having witnessed police officers brutalizing a black man who had been seeking protection from a drunken and abusive white man. “I asked my aunt about it,” he told People magazine. “I told her, ‘It’s so unjust!’ She said, ‘There isn’t any justice. You get what you pay for.’ ”
Many anti-Semitic tropes are confirmed by Rittenberg’s life story, one being the ability of Jews to worm their way into positions of influence in even the most adverse situations. China was a country with almost no Jews, yet somehow a Jew got into the inner sanctum.
For most of his time in China, from 1945 to 1980, he was an intimate of the Communist Party’s top leaders, whom he sought out in their mountain sanctuary, a guerrilla camp in Yan’an, by trekking 45 days on foot. He played gin rummy and argued dogma with Mao, talked for days about the United States and philosophy with Zhou, danced with Mao’s wife Jiang Qing, and got to know Mao’s inner circle, including Liu Shaoqi, the third-ranking leader. They all watched Laurel and Hardy movies together.
Another confirmed trope was that Jews control the media. Even in a Judenfrei country, this Jew ended up deciding what Chinks got to read and hear.
After Mao’s seizure of power in 1949 over the corrupt U.S.-backed Nationalist Party, which enjoyed little support among the population, Mr. Rittenberg was rewarded with appointments at Chinese news and propaganda agencies.
The trope of the pitiless Jew was also confirmed.
Mr. Rittenberg was an avid propagandist during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, a campaign from 1958 to 1961 to transform China from an agrarian economy to a collectivized, industrialized society. The campaign, which banned private farming and enforced edicts with indoctrination and forced labor, was a disaster, causing widespread famine and tens of millions of deaths.
He was even more directly involved in the early stages of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a decade-long purge of “bourgeois” intellectuals, party officials and others suspected of anti-Maoist thought. Starting in 1966, thousands of young Red Guards persecuted millions with imprisonment, torture, public humiliation and property seizures in struggles to create a Maoist cult of personality.
Mr. Rittenberg joined the Red Guards in denouncing what they called “establishment” bureaucrats and haranguing the masses. His speeches and news conferences were published in the Red Guard newspapers. One famous picture from the era shows Mao autographing Mr. Rittenberg’s copy of his “Little Red Book” of sayings. Another shows Mr. Rittenberg on a speaker’s platform, holding the book up and exhorting crowds in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to defend Mao’s thoughts.
A stalwart supporter of the regime, he believed that a little violence was inevitable in a revolution, even one ostensibly devoted to peace and equality. “A revolution is not like inviting guests to dinner,” he said in “The Revolutionary,” a 2012 documentary about his life, paraphrasing Mao. “It can’t be that civilized, that courteous, that gracious, that gentle.”
And the trope of the Jew as traitor, a traitor to America, of course, perhaps a traitor to the Chinks too?
Despite his growing status, Mr. Rittenberg was incarcerated twice on trumped-up charges. After the Communists took power in China, the Soviet leader Josef Stalin charged in a communiqué to Mao that Mr. Rittenberg was a secret American agent sent to undermine the revolution. Without trial, he was held for six years in solitary confinement.
Cleared of the bogus spy charges and released in 1955, he resumed his status in privileged upper echelons of the party. He was named to a high post in China’s Broadcast Administration, and later became a director of Radio Beijing, which regularly denounced the United States.
Having served as cheerleader for the extermination of tens of millions of people, Rittenberg then returned to America and slipped seamlessly into the lifestyle of a rich capitalist.
He founded Rittenberg & Associates, a consulting firm for American companies doing business in China.
Over the years, his services were engaged by hundreds of venture capitalists and American companies, including Microsoft, Intel, Prudential Insurance, Polaroid and Levi Strauss. He made a half-dozen business trips to China annually, and kept an apartment in Beijing.
“He may have been a card-carrying Communist, but he’s also very much a capitalist,” David Shrigley, a former Intel executive, told The Times in 2004.
He was welcomed back and feted by the media and big business. Scarcely a word of reproach was offered. Think about that. Imagine someone had performed comparable services for Hitler, serving as advisor and propagandist. Do you think he would have been allowed to return to a normal life? Do you think he would ever have been allowed to forget the “Six Million”? But Jewish Privilege means never being held to account.
After ticking off just about every anti-Semitic trope in the canon of anti-Semitic tropes, the old Jew had nothing left to accomplish and died.