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May 14, 2014 6:18 pm

Glenn Greenwald Reveals: I Never Had a Bar Mitzvah

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Glenn Greenwald. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Former Guardian journalist, Glenn Greenwald, a confidant of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, revealed in a recent GQ magazine interview that he never had a bar mitzvah because he grew up without “organized religion.”

“My parents tried to inculcate me a little bit into organized Judaism, but they weren’t particularly devoted to that, and my grandparents were, but it just never took hold,” Greenwald, who is Jewish, said. “I wasn’t bar mitzvahed or anything. So I never had organized religion.”

On belief in God, the 47-year-old said he sees truth in the “spiritual and mystical part of the world,” and cited yoga as a bridge between the two realms. The author of No Place to Hide, his memoir of Snowden’s revelations, also said he dislikes “aggressive atheists” who believe they know all of life’s answers and assert ideas they cannot prove with evidence.

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“My moral precepts aren’t informed in any way by religious doctrine or, like, organized religion or anything,” he concluded.

As a Guardian correspondent, Greenwald achieved renown for his series of interviews with Snowden revealing secrets of the American-intelligence community. He told GQ he speaks with Snowden regularly through encrypted chat as the former CIA employee lives in hiding in Russia and Greenwald in Brazil.

Greenwald has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past and has viciously attacked Israel in writings for Salon.com and on his personal blog, titled “Unclaimed Territory.”

In 2009, he wrote that the power the Israel lobby exercises is “harmful in the extreme.”

“They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country,” he wrote.

He also wrote, “The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions.”

Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide is slated to release in mid-May.

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