A Land Without A People For A People Without A Land - History

History

A variation apparently first used by a Christian clergyman and Christian Restorationist, Rev. Alexander Keith, D.D., appeared in 1843, when he wrote that the Jews are "a people without a country; even as their own land, as subsequently to be shown, is in a great measure a country without a people".

In its most common wording, A land without a people and a people without a land, the phrase appeared in print in an 1844 review of Keith's book in a Scottish Free Church magazine.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, in July 1853, at the time of the lead-up to the Crimean War, wrote to Prime Minister Aberdeen that Greater Syria was "a country without a nation" in need of "a nation without a country... Is there such a thing? To be sure there is, the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews!" In May of the following year, he wrote in his diary "Syria is 'wasted without an inhabitant'; these vast and fertile regions will soon be without a ruler, without a known and acknowledged power to claim dominion. The territory must be assigned to some one or other... There is a country without a nation; and God now, in His wisdom and mercy, directs us to a nation without a country". In 1875, Shaftesbury told the annual general meeting of the Palestine Exploration Fund that "We have there a land teeming with fertility and rich in history, but almost without an inhabitant — a country without a people, and look! scattered over the world, a people without a country".

Variant phrasings in use in the pre-Zionist and pre-state eras include "a country without a people for a people without a country", "a land without a nation for a nation without a land". According to Edward Said, the phrasing was "a land without people for a people without a land".

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