Zionism didn't begin as a unitary ideology. There was Herzl's liberal Zionism; Ahad Ha'am's and Yehuda Magnes' cultural Zionism. Socialist Zionism first carried the day and dominated Israeli politics for the first three decades. In the last decades Revisionist Zionism took over, and fused with the Messianic Zionism that gave religious significance to Land and none to human rights. But discussion among Zionist ideals was possible until a few decades ago.
Now, alas, the self-appointed representatives of the Zionist cause, primarily from the right, make it seem that Zionism requires blind allegiance to what Israeli governments do; that a Zionist must admire Jewish power, whatever form it takes; and that Zionism requires shutting off your critical faculties. They have made it a habit to call all those who disagree with them 'post-Zionist' and accuse them of disloyalty.
Ironically that would make Herzl and Ahad Ha'am into post-Zionists avant la lettre. Herzl thought that while the Jewish State should give room for Jewish religion and Jewish clerics, these institutions should be completely isolated from the state and from politics. He also had no place for theological notions that Jews had some God-given right to the land of Israel. He simply believed that they needed a state of their own. Ahad Ha'am would, today, be accused of being a self-hating post-Zionist, because he recoiled from some manifestations of Jewish power in the Yishuv, and put emphasis on cultural renewal instead of militarism.
Ben-Gurion had a decades-long intensive dialogue with one of his fiercest ideological opponent: Shmuel-Hugo Bergman, rector of the Hebrew University and member of Brit Shalom that believed in building peaceful cooperation with Arabs. Ben-Gurion believed in dialogue with other ideological positions; not in shutting them up.
Peter Beinart's excellent article in the New York Review of Books shows how the party line of the traditional Jewish Establishment has driven away the younger generation: they don't believe in unmitigated power-politics; they are unwilling to adhere to party lines, and are profoundly disaffected with the endless harping on Jewish victimhood. Many of them feel that if Zionism means to follow the precepts of the Israeli government with its misguided Hasbara initiatives, support of settlements in the West-Bank and dispossession of Palestinian Property in Jerusalem, they are not Zionists. The same holds true from many young people in Israel who recoil from the sad spectacle that is Israeli politics. Many hardly care anymore, and, if they do, are at a loss how they can make a difference.
Beinart calls for an "uncomfortable Zionism ... angry at what Israel risks becoming, and in love with what it still could be." This is an excellent definition for what is needed today. It needn't even be invented: we simply need to reconnect to the liberal Zionism of Herzl and Ahad Ha'am, as I have shown in a detailed proposal for a new Zionist vision, "Knowledge-Nation Israel".
Liberal Zionism rejects the panicky call for a unified voice of all Jews and the frightened outcries not to wash Israel's dirty linen in front of the gentiles. It refuses to be lectured on what it means to be a good Jew or loyal to Israel. And it categorically rejects the demand that the policies of Israeli governments and the actions of Israeli government officials must be supported, even if they are destructive, inhuman and short-sighted.
Liberal Zionism is indeed angry at what Israel has become: it points out how Israel's primary and secondary education system, in the hand of party ideologues, has deteriorated in quality, and indoctrinates children instead of teaching them to think critically. It shows unflaggingly how the civil service has been filled with bureaucrats from the right who support eviction of Palestinians from their property in places like Sheikh Jarrah . It highlights that Israel's higher education system is being destroyed, while the money goes to building yet more roads for settlers who have little use for democratic values and human rights, harass and degrade Palestinians.
Liberal Zionism will give the majority of the Jewish young generation, in Israel and the Diaspora, a way to express their Jewish identity and their love for what Israel can be without being stifled by right-wingers with totalitarian leanings. Liberal Zionism doesn't require relinquishing moral clarity and Universalist humanism in the name of tribal allegiance: it will make sure that the State of the Jewish people will remain democratic not only in name, but in essence.
Liberal Zionism celebrates one of the most authentic traits of the Jewish tradition: the willingness for incisive debate; the contrarian spirit of davka; the refusal to bow to authoritarianism. It will harness the creative energy, which has been the hallmark of the Jewish contribution to Western culture, of Israel's high-tech industry, art-scene and academia, to unhinge the dogmas and inertia of Israeli politics and move towards a future we can be proud of.