In March of 2012, members of the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn voted against boycotting Israeli goods. The vote had been precipitated by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS, movement, which seeks to use economic and political pressure to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. It was mostly symbolic: there were only a handful of Israeli products sold at the co-op, including tapenade, organic paprika, kosher marshmallows, and a sleek, home-carbonation machine called SodaStream.

At the time, SodaStream was not a household name. Then in January the company, which is headquartered near Tel Aviv and has a factory in the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, 10 minutes by car from Jerusalem, was catapulted into the national news after Fox canceled a SodaStream ad planned for the Super Bowl. Allegedly, the ad was killed because it included a jab at two of the game’s sponsors, Coke and Pepsi. But the flare-up quickly turned political, and in a matter of days, if not hours, it had become a proxy battle pitting Israel’s most hostile critics against its most impassioned defenders. SodaStream was no longer about homemade seltzer. It was about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the plight of the Palestinians, and even the right of the Jewish state to exist at all.