Erdogan had come ready for a fight. The folder he carried onto the stage - a folder that reportedly carried the seal of his Muslim party, and not that of the more secular-leaning Turkish foreign ministry - contained anti-Israel polemics downloaded from the Internet. Peres, too, was ready for battle, and after a twelve-minute speech by Erdogan, Peres responded at length, and boisterously. Erdogan was playing to type - his party has made Israel a special target of attack - but Peres was forced into a role he dislikes, that of reflexive defender of his tribe. In the recent past, Peres was famous for positing the idea that a new, modern, detribalized Middle East was in the making. But in Davos, he felt forced to play what he described to me after the event as an archaic role.
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